After selecting University of Georgia WR George Pickens in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers went back to the UGA well with their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. Jones had two seasons at Georgia with Pickens, and the two seem to be close. In a conference call with Pittsburgh media Thursday night, Jones talked about his relationship with Pickens.
“George Pickens is my guy, man. We have a great relationship,” Jones said via audio posted to 93.7 The Fan.
At the NFL Combine back in March, Jones also talked about his relationship with the Steelers wide receiver.
“George, you know, that’s my guy. I love him to death,” Jones said. “He was out there, he was actually out there training where I was. So just being able to spend time with him, like a player from Georgia, I worked out with Darnell [Washington], just being around Georgia players made me feel like it was at home and made me comfortable.”
Having a sense of familiarity as a rookie is key, and having someone like Pickens whom he’s familiar with from his time at Georgia will surely help his transition to the NFL. Even though they won’t in the same position group, they’re both on offense and part of what’s already a very young offense. Hopefully, it’s a group that bonds through the years and can form a future core in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers now have a young quarterback in Kenny Pickett, a young running back in Najee Harris, a plethora of young receivers, including Pickens, and a young offensive tackle to build around in Jones. That’s a good core and it’s a testament to Omar Khan and former general manager Kevin Colbert for building the offense back up in the wake of the Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown era.
The Steelers have always had a good defense, and that’s no different heading into 2023. A rebuilt offensive line, talent at the skill positions and draft picks still to come have the Steelers looking good on both sides of the football not just now, but in the future.
With a number of other guys from Georgia still on the board, including tight end Darnell Washington, we’ll see if the Steelers continue to target the Georgia pipeline and add more familiarity for Jones. Either way, moving up three spots at just the cost of a fourth-round pick to get a potential franchise left tackle makes Day 1 of the draft a big win for the Steelers.