Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens has been highly touted since he steeped foot in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College for training camp as a young, yet talented receiver that has the potential to become something special in the National Football League.
After seemingly making a highlight reel catch every day in training camp, Pickens got to show off his skills to everyone in Week 1 of the preseason, reeling in a TD pass from Mason Rudolph in the back corner of the end zone. After having a slow start to the regular season, Pickens has gotten hot the last two weeks, leading the Steelers in receiving yards while making plays down the field as well as close to the LOS. Prior to his first 100-yard receiving game against the Jets, Pickens made arguably the catch of the year in Cleveland on a grab eerily like a grab Odell Beckham Jr. made in his rookie season.
The rest of the NFL has taken notice, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles who had glowing reviews on Pickens when asked about the rookie receiver during his weekly press conference.
“He’s a physical receiver,” Bowles said regarding Pickens to the media Wednesday on video from the Buccaneers’ YouTube channel. “You know, they have two of ’em, Claypool as well. So, he’s going to jump and try to make great catches, which he’s shown week-in and week-out. That’s why he got drafted so high. Tough. He was a tough player in college. He’s tough with the Steelers. They got a good draft pick. They got a potential Pro Bowler on their hands and he’s going to be a handful to deal with.”
That’s high praise Bowles gave to Pickens as a well-regarded defensive mind that has had the opportunity to be around some of the league’s best WRs over the years. He currently coaches a team that boasts Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones in the receiver room, with Jones and Evans looking to be Hall of Fame-worthy candidates when they choose to call it a career. He was the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015-2018 and had the pleasure of coaching Brandon Marshall who was one of the league’s most dominant WRs when he played. Before New York, Bowles was DC for the Arizona Cardinals and got to see Larry Fitzgerald work daily as a no-doubt first ballot Hall of Famer.
Therefore, Bowles stating that George Pickens is a potential Pro Bowler despite being only five games into his rookie season shouldn’t be disregarded given his experience in the NFL and the caliber of receiver talent he has been around during his tenure as a coach. So far, Pickens has displayed the talent and playmaking necessary to garner that recognition. However, it will come down to Pickens continuing to build off his string start and his chemistry with fellow rookie Kenny Pickett to see if those potential Pro Bowler comments can indeed become a reality.