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George Pickens Set to Shock Many, Including Steelers, at NFL Combine

The Georgia receiver has met twice with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Of the 324 NFL prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers will watch at the NFL combine, few had more to gain this week than Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. 

Medical rechecks will be crucial for the Bulldog wideout as he is eager to show teams that he's fully recovered from the ACL injury that he suffered back in spring of 2021. Pickens worked himself back into the lineup late last season, providing a couple of spark plays for the Georgia offense in crucial moments, such as his 52-yard diving grab against Alabama in the National Championship game.

Pickens confirmed that he had formal and informal meetings with the Steelers during the week. The Steelers still have Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool on the roster, but both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Ray-Ray McCloud are both slated to hit free agency in a matter of weeks. 

Throughout the interview with the media, Pickens mentioned there were several wide receivers he would study to pick up things to add to his game. One of which was Green Bay Packers All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. 

When you watch Pickens on tape, you'll immediately see some similarities in the way that he also excels at beating press coverage- something Adams has made a living doing for years now. 

I asked Pickens about his release package and overall smoothness for a guy his size (6-3, 200 pounds) and if he felt like that was something that set him apart. 

"I feel like it sets me apart a lot because big receivers are normally powerful, where I pride myself on being creative," Pickens said. "Not so much just power but also finesse."

Pickens said that he feels comfortable at both X and Z receivers while also being able to contribute inside, showcasing some of his versatility. 

"My freshman year I played both (X and Z), the offense was based on whether you're on one side or another," Pickens said. "So I played X and Z and I can play slot, also."

Pickens was very insightful and came off as a student of the game throughout interviews, mentioning all of the different ways that he works on his craft. He mentioned being aware of the questions surrounding his speed saying, "you really don't know how fast I really am until I show you." 

He dropped some not-so subtle hints that he intends to run much faster that what most people are predicting which is in the low-mid 4.5s.

When asked about a time that he wanted to hit in the 40 yard dash, Pickens predicts pretty note-worthy times.

"Probably 4.3, 4.4. People don't really know that and me just saying that number has people like 'woah'," he said.

If Pickens does indeed run somewhere in that range, it will do wonders for his draft stock. He's already an incredibly well-rounded prospect. He has a very detailed release package to beat press coverage, has plenty of spectacular catches down the field while also being a good route runner for his size. The film shows a player that plays with a chip on his shoulder and is hyper competitive. Pickens played in an extremely run-heavy offense at Georgia so he wasn't able to put up some of the flashiest numbers that you'll see around the country. 

It wasn't that long ago that he was just a freshman who took over in the SEC, amassing over 700 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Nowhere close to his overall ceiling, Pickens doesn't turn 21 years old until Friday as he's one of the youngest players in this entire draft class.

If Pickens medicals come back clean and he's able to put on a show when the receivers test on Thursday, he will most likely warrant first round consideration. Pickens would be a very welcomed addition to the Pittsburgh receiving corps if they can find a way to secure his services in April. 

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