Steelers Insider: George Pickens Had a 'Camp Like No Other WR Has in Recent Years'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) celebrates after a touchdown catch during a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
AP Photo/Matt Durisko

It took little time for Pittsburgh Steelers rookie George Pickens to turn heads in training camp.

"Pickens put together a training camp like no other receiver has in recent years," Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reported Tuesday. "It was clear from the beginning that he had all the talent necessary to be a standout—route running, high-pointing the ball, speed, body control, physicality both in the passing and running game—but nobody could’ve imagined the day-in and day-out consistency he would show as a rookie."

Pickens has five catches for 49 yards and one touchdown in Pittsburgh's two preseason games.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

George Pickens with the toe-tap TD 🔥 <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@steelers</a>)<a href="https://t.co/6qVB0lbYUG">pic.twitter.com/6qVB0lbYUG</a>

The 21-year-old was limited to four games with Georgia in 2021 after suffering a torn ACL in the spring. That undoubtedly played a role in him falling to the second round of the 2022 NFL draft.

Early on, Pickens doesn't appear to have lost much of a step, and he certainly isn't shying away from any physicality.

Still, the 6'3" pass-catcher joined the Steelers with some stiff competition in the form of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. More than the raw numbers or individual highlights, his preseason usage might be the most encouraging sign regarding his fantasy football value.

Nathan Jahnke @PFF_NateJahnke

Steelers first half snaps. George Pickens 👀👀👀 <a href="https://t.co/xGLzU4pIgR">pic.twitter.com/xGLzU4pIgR</a>

Head coach Mike Tomlin didn't hesitate to lean on JuJu Smith-Schuster right away after the team selected him in 2017. The former USC standout had 917 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, and he had to share the offense with a pair of All-Pros (Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell).

There remains some uncertainty at quarterback in Pittsburgh. Mitchell Trubisky has the edge in starting experience over Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph, but Pickett has looked great in preseason.

Regardless of who's under center, Pickens might be making an immediate impact in the Steel City.