After the Steelers drafted their QB of the future, Kenny Pickett, in the first round, they continued to beef up his projected playmaking corps by tabbing Georgia wide receiver George Pickens in the second round. Pickens may not be a prominent WR early in his career, but could turn out to be a dependable target for Pickett by his second or third season.
A 2021 ACL tear dented Pickens’ draft appeal, but he did return for the final four games of the season. Early on, he figures to give Pickett or Mitchell Trubisky additional quality depth as part of what is becoming an impressive pass-catching group. The Steelers are surrounding Pickett with a wide array of weaponry for when he eventually unseats Trubisky.
George Pickens NFL Draft Outlook
At his best, Pickens is a smooth-moving big target who seems to be an ideal wideout to work with Pickett. The new Steelers QB is not hesitant to throw the 50/50 ball, and that is a core strength of Pickens’ game.
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Pickens gets in and out of his cuts with nifty footwork, and he can catch the ball in traffic. But he is wiry, and will have to prove he can handle consistent physical coverages at the NFL level. He also needs to work on his craft as a route runner.
Pickens has a wide catch radius and will be a frequent TD target for Pickett. But he may be on the lower rungs of the Steelers’ pass-catching ladder as a rookie and the 2022 contributions could be more meaningful in real life than fantasy football.
George Pickens Fantasy Football Outlook
Pickens may be a fantasy afterthought in 2022 seasonal leagues. He will be behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool on the WR depth chart, and Pat Freiermuth and Najee Harris could also be ahead of him in terms of being preferred targets in 2022.
But Pickens can have more dynasty appeal as a possible WR3 after the upcoming season. Johnson is a free agent after the 2022 campaign, and Claypool must prove he can reach expectations or be bumped down in the pecking order.
Pickens may sit behind some others initially, but he can vault up to a more significant role in the passing game as soon as 2023.
George Pickens Scouting Report
- A big target who can be a frequent TD producer
- Makes defenders work harder with his sharp cuts
- Willing pass-catcher in traffic
- Terrific ball skills and contested catch winner
- Must refine his route running
- Has to show he can handle physical defenders on a regular basis