Great news, Steelers Nation. The 2022 NFL Draft is finally upon us. Every rabid football fans version of Christmas in April.
I have been given the distinguished task of trying to apply a letter grade to each Steelers selection.
There are specific criteria necessary when attempting to accurately and fairly grade any draft pick. Only time will reveal the validity of any grade given, but I will utilize certain parameters as I attempt to apply an initial grade for each Steelers draft pick. I base each grade on projected roster fit, potential immediate impact, and assumed draft value. Draft value is achieved by evaluating each players actual selection against their projected draft position, whether that be player rankings or projected round.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Georgia WR George Pickens with the 52nd selection of the 2022 NFL Draft.
George Pickens has game changing potential. At 6'3" and 200 lbs., he is an impressive physical specimen. Pickens is blessed with superior long speed, running a 4.47 forty, to go along with an incredible catch radius due to his lanky frame. He excels at high pointing the football, thanks in part to his length and strong hands.
Pickens possesses an extra gear that allows him to separate late against coverage, especially on deep routes. He currently has a limited route tree, but his talent and work ethic suggest he has the potential to improve in that area. He displayed the necessary work ethic and toughness to return from an torn ACL ahead of schedule in 2021, although he never appeared to be close to 100% in his four games played.
Pickens needs work on his playing strength and technique, specifically his release off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. You can be sure that NFL caliber defensive backs will exploit this weakness to stop him before he gets started. This is inevitable, because if he is even he is leaving, due to the extra gear I mentioned earlier. Pickens doesn't offer much as a blocker, but that can be alleviated with improved functional strength. Make no mistake, Pickens plays the receiver position with bad intentions, even if that intensity isn't always evident in his run blocking.
Based on the criteria mentioned earlier in this article, I give the Steelers second round selection of George Pickens an initial draft grade of B+.
George Pickens is a exceptional deep threat with first round characteristics; size, speed, and a "my ball" mentality, that the Steelers were able to acquire with a second round selection. The Steelers entered the draft with a real need for a slot receiver and a deep threat. Pickens takes care of the latter. He will need time and hard work to improve on his aforementioned areas of weakness, but the talent to do just that is already there.
Now we want to hear from the BTSC community and from Steelers Nation. What do you think about the selection and what initial grade would you give it. Please place your vote in the attached poll and share your reasoning in the comment section below.
I am pleased to welcome George Pickens to the Steelers family on behalf of the BTSC staff and community. Go, Steelers!
What initial draft grade do you give this Steelers selection?
This poll is closed
A = Excellent selection
B = Above average selection
C = Solid selection
D = Below average selection
F = Terrible selection