The Steelers struck gold in the second round with rookie George Pickens. Here’s why his role in the offense needs to change immediately.
George Pickens has been lights out for the Steelers the past few weeks. While being 3rd in the receiving room’s pecking order Pickens is 2nd on the team in receiving yards, 3rd in receptions, 1st in yards per reception, and is responsible for the longest reception so far this season which was for 36 yards. While that doesn’t sound too special it is important to note that he is 4th on the team in receiving targets with just 28.
Diontae Johnson is leading the team in targets with 50. I created a table with numbers I found from Profootballreference.
Both Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are getting more snaps than Pickens but why?
The biggest head scratcher to me is that Chase Claypool has roughly 40 more snaps on the season than Pickens. I created a table comparing both Pickens and Claypool as well.
Stats may not be able to tell the whole picture but there is nothing on film that makes me think that Chase Claypool is comparable to George Pickens at this point. Honestly, going strictly off of the eye test Pickens seems to be the best out of the 3 and it doesn’t look particularly close.
Diontae Johnson is a lethal route runner and Chase Claypool is a freak athlete. However, neither of them appears to have taken a step forward and in Claypool’s case, it appears he has taken a step back. Pickens already has the more complete skill set. He is certainly a better route runner than Claypool and is without a doubt significantly more sure-handed than Johnson or Claypool.
It is only a matter of time before Pickens becomes the #1 receiver in the Steel City. However, there seems to be zero reason as to why he isn’t the #2 right now. If Tomlin was serious about making some changes after the Bills game the easiest choice to start with would be to promote Pickens over Claypool.