When glancing across the NFL landscape, there exists a bevy of standout rookies including running backs Dameon Pierce and Kenneth Walker III, wide receiver Chris Olave and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. In Pittsburgh, the 3-7 record where they currently find themselves is uncharted territory under Head Coach Mike Tomlin, but they do have their own standout rookie in the self-proclaimed “NFL Youngboy”, wide receiver George Pickens.
So far in his short professional career, all he’s done is put the draft analysts and naysayers who questioned him to bed, displaying elite ball-skills with uncanny body contortion for someone of his 6-foot-3 stature. He also has shown off his enormous catch radius, and has frequently put on display his immense physical gifts to national audiences, including his freak-show circus catch against the Browns back in September, which is easily the catch of the year thus far.
Thus, it should come as absolutely zero surprise that Kristopher Knox at Bleacher Report compiled his list of each team’s top rookie, and Pickens was a no-brainer.
“A second-round selection out of Georgia, Pickens is already shaping up to be the latest Day 2 gem of a pass-catcher for Pittsburgh—following in the footsteps of players like Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster,” Knox wrote via Bleacher Report.
Knox goes on to further question the play of fellow rookie, quarterback Kenny Pickett, who at times has looked a bit shaky under center, and also stuck in the anemic playbook of Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada.
Still, Pickens has looked far and away like the top wide receiver in the Steel City, with at least 60 yards and/or a touchdown in four of the last six games. As it stands, he has 33 grabs for 453 yards and two touchdowns. A 1,000-yard season certainly isn’t out of the question, as he’s frequently peppered with targets by Pickett. However, he’ll have to average 91 yards a game in the remaining six games, two of which are against Baltimore and their bottom-tier secondary.
What do you think of Knox’s assessment? Obviously Pickett was the big-ticket first-rounder and has definitely shown flashes of being a franchise guy under center. Perhaps showing Canada the door may unlock his true potential. However, as it stands now, in my book, Pickens is a future All-Pro. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.