Projecting Where George Pickens Will Be Drafted After Day 1 of 2022 NFL DraftApril 29, 2022
It seemed at one point during the first round of the 2022 NFL draft that there may not be any wide receivers left for Friday or Saturday.
That's because USC's Drake London, Ohio State's Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Alabama's Jameson Williams, Penn State's Jahan Dotson and Arkansas' Treylon Burks all heard their names called between picks No. 8 and 18.
It was the type of run many expected in a draft loaded with quality pass-catchers and missing the quarterback depth of past ones, with Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett the only signal-caller to go in the first round.
Yet it wasn't all bad news for teams in need of wide receivers in the second round. That's because there were no pass-catchers drafted from picks Nos. 19-32, meaning Georgia's George Pickens is still there for teams such as the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers.
All three teams could use the help at wide receiver—Chicago doesn't have any established options outside of Darnell Mooney, Green Bay needs to find replacements for the departed Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Baltimore unexpectedly traded Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.
Pickens would fill an obvious need for any of the three teams, although there are some health concerns since he appeared in just four games during the 2021 campaign after undergoing knee surgery.
B/R's NFL Scouting Department still ranked him as the seventh-best wide receiver and 34th-best overall player in this draft. B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice suggested he "has the size, ball skills and enough athleticism to be an X receiver who primarily runs a vertical route tree, which will also allow him to use his body strength and catching range. His size will translate into the red zone, and his blocking will be an asset right away."
The thought here is Pickens ends up on the Bears.
Chicago has two picks in the second round at No. 39 and 48 overall and desperately needs more options at wide receiver. Even if the team is in something of rebuilding mode after losing veterans Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson II this offseason, the development of Justin Fields is the most important thing for the long-term outlook of the franchise.
Having young and reliable pass-catchers who he can develop with as he begins his second season in the league is a major part of that, and Mooney is the only one who fits that description on the entire roster.
Pickens' ability to run deep routes would play well with Fields' strengths as someone who impressed with his deep throws at times, even during an inconsistent rookie season.
Chicago needs to add multiple playmakers at the wide receiver spot, and Pickens would be an ideal way to start during Friday's second round. If the Bears don't take him, expect the Ravens (No. 45) or Packers (Nos. 53 and 59) to jump at the opportunity.