Spectators witnessed one of the best catches they will see on Thursday Night Football, but George Pickens has so much more to offer the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In a smashmouth divisional game that wasn’t expected to be full of noteworthy offensive plays, George Pickens took the world by storm when he reeled in one of the most spectacular catches we have ever seen take place on the football field. This really isn’t an exaggeration either. Though the quality of the catch is obviously subject to opinion, I think most fans are in agreeance.
In fact, the Thursday Night Football Crew on Prime Video threw up a graphic comparing Pickens’ catch to the spectacular Odell Beckham Jr. extension. It’s not hard to see why these comparisons were drawn.
Outside of this beauty from the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver, there weren’t really any other notable plays to dissect. Pickens finished the game with just 3 receptions for 39 yards on 7 targets (including a short pass that was dropped).
If you are in the camp of not buying into the George Pickens hype or thinking the Steelers rookie is overrated, I would urge you not to look too deeply into the box score stats. Though Pickens’ production has been incredibly underwhelming through three games, the combination of Matt Canada and Mitch Trubisky has not been good to anybody — Diontae Johnson included. Regardless, it’s easy to see that Pickens has so much more to offer this team in the future.
Pickens shows glimpses of what he could offer
It’s important to remember that George Pickens is still far from a finished product. He’s just 21 years old and is coming off a season in which he was sidelined at Georgia with an ACL tear, so growing pains are expected. However, it’s clear that the former five-star recruit has unlimited upside.
At 6’3 1/’4” with 4.47 speed, Pickens has the size and speed required to bully cornerbacks in the NFL for a long time. His long arms and wiry frame allow him to move like a much smaller receiver while giving him the catch radius to make some remarkable grabs.
This spectacular reception against the Browns didn’t come out of thin air either. Pickens has been doing this kind of acrobatic stuff since his freshman year in college, and that continued throughout Steelers training camp. However, with a bit more refinement and better play design, Pickens has number one wide receiver potential.
The latter of these is currently the biggest issue. The Steelers aren’t a team that likes to fire coaches mid-season, so it doesn’t look like Matt Canada is going anywhere soon. However, it stands to reason that by next season at the latest, Pittsburgh will have a new (hopefully much more innovative) offensive coordinator calling the shots with Kenny Pickett slinging the rock. This should help Pickens’ career take off.
While it’s hard to be patient when we can see how incredible the talent is, Pickens will be just 22 years old during his second season, and he has the potential to stick in this league for a very long time.
Obviously, we want to see adjustments made and the Steelers offense start to come alive this year, but if that doesn’t happen, at least we can take some comfort knowing that Pittsburgh has a young skill player with limitless upside. His spectacular catch ability is just a glimpse of what he will offer this team moving forward.