Pushing late into the second full week of practices at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens continues to be the talk of the town.
Wednesday’s non-padded practice at Chuck Noll Field was the latest example of the talents and overall dominance that Pickens, a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, brings to the table in the black and gold. Pickens consistently won his matchups at receiver, hauling in a number of spectacular catches against the Steelers’ starting defensive backs in Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace on the day, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd in attendance.
Simply put: it was the George Pickens show on Wednesday in Latrobe.
Off to a fast start in his first training camp, Pickens has the look of the next great Steelers wide receiver that former GM Kevin Colbert scooped up in the draft. Mike Tomlin made sure to pour some cold water on the hype Thursday though during his media session after practice.
One day after stating that Pickens hasn’t shown them anything that’s unexpected based off of what the Steelers contingent saw at his Pro Day in Athens, Georgia, Tomlin again tried to humble the young receiver through the media, stating to reporters that the budding star still has a lot to work on in the NFL.
“Absolutely everything,” Tomlin said to reporters when asked what Pickens needs to continue working on, according to video via Steelers.com. “He’s got talent, but there’s a difference between talent and skill. And that’s what we’re trying to educate him and others regarding. God gives him the talent. We develop the skill and settings like this, relative to the positions that they play.”
Tomlin historically doesn’t go out of his way to praise young players, especially through the media. That doesn’t mean he’s not impressed with what he’s seeing from Pickens on a daily basis. There’s the message he’s pushing through the media regarding the young receiver, stating that he needs to continue working and developing and isn’t close to a finished product yet.
There’s a good chance though behind closed doors that Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff can’t contain their excitement surrounding the rookie who is making plays at a high level in training camp.
Of course, none of the plays Pickens makes in training camp mean anything until he does it in the preseason and in the regular season. Right now, the Steelers are focused on developing his skills overall, turning him from a promising receiver into a potentially dominant one between the white lines.