Steelers receiver George Pickens
George Pickens had a decent rookie season, but most would assume Matt Canada did not appreciate the weapon he had in George Pickens and was grossly underutilized in the offensive play calling. Still, he finished with 801 receiving yards, 52 catches, and four touchdowns. He even had a 15.4 yards-per-catch average.
We know he can probably post better numbers based on his rookie year. Hopefully, with an improved offensive line, he should improve his 61.9% catch ratio. Assuming he maintains his 15.4 yards per catch average, just 20 more receptions and he could perhaps have 1109 yards receiving.
If his yards per catch slip, say to around 10.7, he might need 95 receptions; still plausible, assuming the Steelers turn into a pass-happy team. If they run Najee Harris as much as one might estimate, and with the additional wide receivers Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin, it might be tougher to get more passes.
Hence it will be crucial that Pickens maintain his yards-per-catch average. So long as he keeps his average in the 14-15 yard range, he would only need about 70 receptions, so it’s highly plausible if Pickens has a breakout season, a thousand yards is within his grasp.
Between Pickens and Johnson, all the Steelers need to do is just complete an additional 40 passes. If the Steelers can have an extra 2-3 sustained drives a game and fewer punts, that’s easily achievable. They essentially only need one additional catch per game, more than what they had last season. So who is the third receiver that would factor in to make this happen?