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Get on the George Pickens Hype Train before it’s too late

The Steelers rookie wide receiver is making waves at camp, and it’s time to buy the hype.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every day we hear another story of a rookie wide receiver (WR) showing out in a big way at Steelers Training Camp. That rookie WR is none other than the Steelers 2022 2nd Round NFL Draft pick, George Pickens, the ultra-athletic, but injury-ridden, pass catcher with a lot to prove.

He is doing just that so far, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. From Day 1, the Steelers media in attendance at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA have reported on the highlight reel that is Pickens, and Steelers Nation is starting to pay attention.

As they should!

Pickens boasts elite size and speed for the position, and even better body control and sure hands. His get-off at the line of scrimmage is also impressive, where he displays a won’t-be-denied mentality against would-be jams from opposing cornerbacks. Not many receivers have the natural ball-tracking ability of Pickens, and he often makes difficult catches look routine.

I know what you’re thinking, “We’ve seen plenty of guys dominate in practice only to fall flat in real game action,” or “He’s just a rookie and there’s no way he’ll be a big-time player in his first season.”

George Pickens is a different animal. Since the pre-draft process I have been comparing his play style and skill-set to another former Georgia Bulldog and recent superstar for the Cincinnati Bengals, A.J. Green. Green was an exception field-stretcher and could absolutely take over games as an unstoppable force on the perimeter. We’re seeing early signs in camp that Pickens has that same potential.

The question for Pickens was could he replicate his pre-injury form as a freshman and sophomore at Georgia. So far, the answer has been a resounding yes. Although initially Pickens was running with the 1st team offense by necessity, due to Diontae Johnson’s since resolved contract “hold-in” and an injury to Chase Claypool, he has quickly proven he belongs, hauling in impressive catches against virtually every opponent in coverage on the Steelers defense.

All that being said, it is important to remember there will undoubtedly be some growing pains associated with his inexperience at the NFL level. Also, the Steelers have a ton of weapons in the passing game, and each one will have a role if the offense is to be successful. Those issues could potentially hold Pickens back early in the season.

However, we’ve already seen that the stage isn’t too big for him, and he brings an intensity and competitiveness that will benefit him greatly at the professional level. I am a strong believer in Pickens’ ability to be a major factor for this team early in 2022. If given the opportunity, Pickens could establish himself as the team’s most explosive, and best, wide receiver in short order.

I have a feeling he’s well on his way.

Maybe you’re not as plugged into the offseason happenings for the Steelers as some of us, or maybe you have been more intently focused on the quarterback competition or the defense’s potential renaissance. Let’s just say this: the George Pickens hype train is picking up steam quickly, and believe me, you’re going to want to hop on before it’s too late.