One thing you can count on with the Pittsburgh Steelers is that they will produce quality wide receivers. They went with George Pickens out of Georgia in the second round, and couple with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, the Steelers have a promising trio of pass-catchers this season.
Pickens is 6-foot-3. Coupled with his 4.47 speed and his huge catch radius, Pickens gives the Steelers someone they can stretch the field with and throw to in tight windows or try to let him high point the ball with his 33-inch vertical. He is extremely gifted, but the Steelers are trying to show him that he has to fine-tune his game in other ways to reach his ceiling.
“He’s got talent, but there’s a difference between talent and skill,” Tomlin said about Pickens. “And that’s what we’re trying to educate him and others regarding. God gives them the talent; we develop the skill in settings like this relative to the positions that they play.”
The Alabama native showed his worth as a freshman with the Bulldogs in 2019 by leading them in receptions (49), yards (727), and receiving touchdowns (8). In an eight-game shortened season due to COVID a year later, Pickens led Georgia in receiving touchdowns again with six. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL last spring and only played in four games. He did have a big 52-yard reception during the national title game against Alabama as Georgia won their first crown since 1980.
If anyone thought that Pickens was coming into the league lacking any confidence he’s slowly putting that to bed. It’s been reported that he’s been doing some trash-talking in practice after he makes a play. Pickens mentioned if that helps to motivate his teammates so that they can win ball games, he’s on board.
“I just like to compete,” said Pickens. “So if that involves talking, if that involves like winning, whatever I gotta to do win.”
Pickens isn’t opposed to having some humility, though. During the Steelers practice on Thursday, head coach Mike Tomlin ruled Pickens out of bounds, and one the rookie felt was a good catch. It was brought to his attention that maybe Tomlin doesn’t want to get him overly excited too quickly, and Pickens agrees.
“Yeah, I kind of like it that way, because being humble is really the best way,” said Pickens.
As the preseason commences, Pickens will be one of the rookies to watch closely.
Feature image via Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK