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Is the hype for Steelers WR George Pickens going too far?

“The sky is the limit,” says... literally everyone.

George Pickens #14 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the game against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There might not be a more hyped NFL player right now than second-year WR George Pickens. The self-described “best wide receiver in the world” is everywhere these days.

The hype doesn’t end with Pickens himself, though, further perpetuated by the endless string of highlight-reel grabs making their way to SportsCenter, NFL Network, and other major sports networks. Then, there’s the commentary. And oh, boy, is there some commentary making the rounds about the former Georgia prospect.

ESPN’s Ryan Clark sounded off on NFL Live Wednesday, stating that Pickens was “much more talented” than Vikings All-Pro WR Justin Jefferson.

When a reporter asked Pickens’ teammate (and practice opponent) Patrick Peterson for his thoughts on the comment, and he... kind of agreed.

“I mean, I can see it. GP is very, very raw. He’s very raw, he’s unpredictable when the ball is coming his way as far as his catch abilities. Like, on my podcast the other day, All Things Covered, I called his hands ‘magnets’ cause if the ball is coming anywhere near them, he finds a way to come down with the catch.”

“But Justin is a savant of the position, he’s really in tune [with] how to manipulate the defensive back,” Peterson went on to say. “You know, he’s going into Year 4. GP’s going into Year 2. There’s still some things, you know, he wants to get better at... but the talent? I — I probably have to agree with Ryan on that one.”

Though it’s unsurprising to see one teammate have the back of another teammate, Peterson is actually a source that can speak quite well to Jefferson’s skillset, having played cornerback for the Vikings in each of the last two seasons. For as many practice reps Peterson has seen from Pickens so far in his tenure with the Steelers, he’s undoubtedly seen more from Jefferson.

While it somehow feels like Pickens is heading into his 10th NFL season with the number of highlight reel plays he’s posted to date, his early play has indicated that there’s still a lot left to unpack. His 52/801/4 stat line as a rookie is something incredibly solid to build on.

But how high is the ceiling, really? Is it higher than that of a Justin Jefferson, who finished 2022 with the sixth-most receiving yards in a single season all-time?

And are the media doing Pickens any favors by leaning so far into it?