Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens proved that he’s more than just a great pair of hands with his debut performance in the preseason.
George Pickens is slowly making an argument to be one of the biggest steals of the 2022 NFL Draft with what he has managed to do in preseason so far for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Having suffered an ACL injury during his college days that disrupted some of his production, he slipped into the second round of the draft when the numbers would indicate that there might have been a first-rounder there all along.
In his first two years of college football, the second of which was impacted by the pandemic, he had 85 catches, which turned into 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns before suffering the ACL injury in his final year that limited him to just 5 catches for 107 yards, which played a big part in him missing out on the run on wide receivers during the 1st round of the draft this year.
The Steelers lost JuJu Smith-Schuster to the Kansas City Chiefs whilst James Washington signed with the Dallas Cowboys, and whilst they did already have Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool on the roster, clearly they felt the need to bulk up a bit more, so they took Pickens with the 52nd overall pick.
And he’s already showing in his first few months that he belongs in the NFL.
Pickens has already been making a couple of sensational catches when with the team at their training camp facility in Latrobe, and he showed this past Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks that he can make plays just as well on the field as he does in the safety of training camp.
He scored the Steelers’ second touchdown of the afternoon with an incredible toe-tapping play in the corner of the endzone despite not having much room to work with considering there was a defender right on his tail:
But it was his play earlier that might have taken a few by surprise.
When receivers aren’t running routes and trying to get open to catch the ball, they can often be employed as blockers in the run game, and with a frame of 6’3 and 200lbs, Pickens was always going to be a pretty good blocker when going up against defensive backs that will, for the most part, be smaller than him.
In footage posted by @TimotRice, he showed Coby Bryant, a fellow rookie it should be pointed out, that he is in no mood to do things gently in the NFL, as he destroyed the Seahawks cornerback with a hard-hitting block in the first quarter:
It seems that however you want to use Pickens in the offense, he is going to cause problems for whoever he is going up against, and now it’s up to the opposing defenses to try and stop him, which looks as if it’s going to be very hard to do.