3 Steelers rookies who will be ready to start by Week 1
By Andrew Falce
Steelers WR Pickens
While far less pro-ready than Pickett is as a prospect, the rookie with the highest ceiling in this class has to be George Pickens. The rookie receiver from Georgia was dominating the SEC before he tore his ACL and missed most of last season. That is the only reason he was available in the second round. Though he will have a bit of a learning curve and will have to get used to playing again, Pickens needs to be on the field sooner than later.
There aren’t a lot of negative things that Pickens has on film. His routes aren’t always the sharpest and his ability after the catch isn’t dynamic, but for a rookie receiver, he certainly looks the part of a quality starter. The best way for him to learn is to get him on the field and play early. As well, that can help him establish an early connection with his quarterback for at least the next few seasons in Pickett.
He doesn’t have to start week one, as Miles Boykin can rotate with him as Pickens gets used to the pro game. That said, by week four I expect Pickens, Chase Claypool, and Diontae Johnson to be the top three receivers for the team consistently each week. Pickens is that good, and he should see the field sooner than later because of it.
The Steelers won’t see the same impact in this rookie class as they saw in their group from 2021, but these three in particular are ready to play early. While traditionally starting isn’t in store for all three, seeing a significant amount of snaps early should be in store for all three. Each has the potential to make a significant impact this season for the Steelers.