Pittsburgh Steelers second-round rookie extensive receiver George Pickens has managed to do one thing each day of coaching camp to get himself observed on the sphere in a constructive manner, main many to make early projections about how a lot of the ‘real deal’ he’s.
A standout out of Georgia, the 6’3” star was thought to be a prospect with first-round expertise, however he fell into the second spherical because of well being issues, having suffered a torn ACL the yr prior, which restricted him to little or no work in the course of the 2021 season.
Most of what he achieved on the school stage, nonetheless, can largely be attributed to sheer pure talents, corresponding to his dimension, his velocity, his leaping skill. He got here into coaching camp wanting to indicate that he’s greater than that.
“Just showing coaches I’m really a nice route runner”, he advised reporters about what he set out to do that summer time “That was my biggest thing, because everybody knows I’m big, fast. That was my—just a deep-ball type of guy. That’s what Randy Moss was. Randy Moss really never had the [shiftiness], and that’s kind of what I wanted to display”.
In the identical interview, he talked about how he developed his sport by modeling it after gamers who’re smaller than he’s, studying to ‘play small’ whereas nonetheless benefiting from his pure dimension and power. He hopes to be the entire package deal as a large receiver—actually, as a soccer participant usually.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster departed in free company, Pickens has an excellent alternative to grab upon a beginning job instantly, in between Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. He in all probability has the strongest declare to it than anyone else on the roster, even amongst veterans corresponding to Anthony Miller and Miles Boykin.
If he can present his ‘little’ traits whereas nonetheless making ‘big’ performs, it is going to be a tough job conserving him off the sphere, however the Steelers haven’t any main aversions to taking part in extensive receivers early. After all, Johnson and Claypool themselves each did the identical, as did Smith-Schuster.
Because Johnson is at present not collaborating in crew drills as he seeks a brand new contract extension, it has solely afforded Pickens, and others, a larger alternative to see better-quality observe reps, to state their case for a much bigger position within the offense this season.
Nobody has taken larger benefit of that than has the Bulldog, whom Claypool stated would be the finest rookie extensive receiver within the NFL this season. Given how wealthy the expertise pool on the place is yearly popping out of the draft, that’s no small job, and it’ll require competence from the quarterback place that isn’t assured, but when he can do in stadiums what he’s doing on the observe discipline, he can declare that title. Maybe even Offensive Rookie of the Year. It’s not like a quarterback goes to win it this yr.