If Miami (FL) CB Tyrique Stevenson becomes a Pittsburgh Steeler, he’ll be greeted with his toughest college matchup on a NFL field. Because being a Steelers’ cornerback means trying to find a way to deal with WR George Pickens in each practice, something even the veteran Steelers’ DBs had trouble figuring out last summer.
Speaking during his Combine appearance, Stevenson said Pickens was the toughest player he matched up against in college. Before Miami, Stevenson spent his first two years at Georgia, squaring off against Pickens every day.
“I would say George Pickens,” he said of his toughest battles. “That’s one person that, we went head-to-head in practice and even though he was my teammate, we were both trying to kill each other and give each other the best opportunity. So I’d just say George Pickens is the hardest receiver I guarded.”
Pickens is the king of the acrobatic catch, so much so that he said his unbelievable grab against the Cleveland Browns didn’t even come close to the best grabs of his football career. In his early days at Georgia, he would make ridiculous catches in practice, like this absurd one-hander he somehow held onto.
“You don’t know what you gonna get from George. He has the speed to run by you, but he also has the wiggleness to get inside and do whatever he needs to. And his catch radius is amazing, to be honest. So you never know what you’re gonna get out of him, so you gotta play him full throttle and full potential all the time.”
That made life tough on a young corner like Stevenson. But it also made him better, an iron-sharpen-iron mentality. After two years with the Bulldogs, he transferred to Miami for 2021 and 2022, picking off two passes and batting away seven others his senior season. An invite to this year’s Senior Bowl, he had a solid week and seemed to know Mike Tomlin, or at least catch his eye, dapping him up on one occasion as he came off the field. Stevenson said the two had a good conversation in Mobile.
“Once I brought up Georgia that I knew George, it kind of caught his attention and he came over and we just had a lot of conversation in-between the interviews that were going on.”
With good size at about six-foot, 210 pounds who started off playing linebacker in high school, Stevenson has an all-around skillset to make him an intriguing selection. He’s currently projected as a mid Day Two selection, meaning he could be on Pittsburgh’s radar with the 49th pick.
And if he lands with the Steelers, he’ll be back to guarding Pickens at practice, just as he did to start his college career. Stevenson’s excited at the thought of a reunion.
“It’ll be a hell of a feeling, to be honest. Because I know he’s gonna expect nothing but the best from me and I’m expecting nothing but the best from him.”