George Pickens, WR, Georgia
WHO HE IS: Pickens (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) is an Alabama native (Birmingham) who initially committed to Auburn before flipping to Georgia on his signing day, according to draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic. Pickens helped Hoover High School to back-to-back ASHAA Class 7A championships in 2016 and 2017. His brother Chris Humes played for Arkansas State and with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
WHAT HE'S DONE: Most recently Pickens overcame a torn ACL suffered in the spring of 2021 and made it back onto the field for Georgia's game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 27. Pickens played in four games last season and caught five passes for 107 yards (three for 93 yards in two games against Alabama). Pickens' 52-yard reception against the Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game included beating press coverage at the line of scrimmage, full extension to make the catch and then a twist and tuck to ensure he wouldn't lose control of the ball upon hitting the ground. Pickens also drew a pass interference penalty against Alabama on a fade route in the end zone. Pickens caught 85 passes for 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Georgia. He earned Freshman All-SEC honors and was the MVP of the Sugar Bowl (12 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown) in his first season at Georgia.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: "Overall, Pickens has a discount sticker on him after missing most of the 2021 season but he is a graceful athlete with outstanding ball-tracking and 50-50 finishing skills. He has WR1 traits and potential if he returns to pre-injury form and continues to refine his routes." _ Brugler.
"He has some incredible high-point catches down the field. Somebody at Georgia who has been there forever, he brought up the name A.J. Green in terms of (comparing Pickens to) the talent that's been through Georgia." _ NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
HOW HE FITS: The Steelers no longer have Ray-Ray McCloud, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington on the roster at wide receiver from last season. Pickens represents a significant investment at a depleted position, one with length and speed (4.47 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine).