George Pickens has been impressive early on in Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, and his teammates have taken notice.
Chase Claypool said he thinks Pickett will be the best rookie receiver in the NFL. Mitch Trubisky said that Pickens’ athleticism is so impressive you wouldn’t notice he was hurt last year.
For his part, Pickens isn’t letting the praise get to his head.
“I hadn’t really heard any teammates say anything,” Pickens said, via Teresa Varley’s Camp Blog on Steelers.com. “They just keep telling me to do what I am doing. I feel like my first week went good.”
“I just keep working. That is what I said at the combine too. I probably say that every interview. I just keep working.”
As a second-round pick by the Steelers, a team with an impressive track record for finding wide receiver talent in the draft, Pickens has a lot of expectations early. It’s good that he’s ignoring the noise, so to speak, and just putting his head down and letting his play do the talking for him.
It’s also a good sign that his teammates are so impressed with his early performances they’re speaking out. For Pickens though, it’s still early and he can’t let the early praise get to his head, and it doesn’t seem like he is.
Pickens has a realistic chance to be the second-most productive receiver on the team, although it’s likely he’ll probably be third as he’s currently No. 3 on the depth chart behind Diontae Johnson and Claypool. Johnson’s currently holding in, but it’s unlikely he would let that continue into the regular season.
Meanwhile, Claypool had a bit of a disappointing sophomore campaign, and he’s going to look to have a big year before heading into a contract year in 2023. With that being said, if Pickens early returns are as good as advertised, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he finished the year as the No. 2 receiver on the team.
With players putting the pads on today, we’ll be able to tell more about who is really standing out and who may have been a flash in the pan through the first week. While it doesn’t drastically change the way camp runs, putting the pads on gives camp more of an edge and more of a game feel. If Pickens impresses again this week, the hype will be even higher. If he keeps ignoring the noise and performing, he could have a special rookie season in Pittsburgh.