George Pickens Draft Profile
Sometimes you just have to trust your eyes and not what everyone else is saying. My eyes tell me that Georgia wide receiver, George Pickens is going to be a really good X-receiver in the NFL, and that is what I am riding with. The 6’3 195 lb. receiver has had my attention since he was a five-star prospect coming out of college. He is also a super-human— he had one of the most impressive ACL recoveries that I have ever seen. He came back in just over 8-months, and while his production wasn’t as high post-ACL tear, he was still an impactful player. Every year there is at least one “diva” receiver who isn’t afraid to talk shit and get in his opponents' faces; Pickens is this year’s diva. He is a high-energy, alpha-dog type of player that will get his team juiced. After his injury, he played just four games in his junior and only had five catches. While his production wasn’t what it was before the injury, defenses still circled him when preparing for the games. He put his heart and his body on the line in the final games of Georgia’s championship run, and it shows on tape.
George Pickens is a physical dude who is aggressive on every single snap. When the ball is in the air, he goes up and plucks it out of the air. When his team runs the ball on the ground he likes being the lead blocker. He isn’t afraid of doing the dirty work, and teams are going to love that about him. While his numbers and production may not “wow” you, they don’t properly reflect his impact. He gets his teammates open, draws pass interferences, and is an asset as a blocker. He played for the Georgia Bulldogs, a team known for running the football and playing physical. He didn’t have guys like Bryce Young and CJ Stroud throwing him the football; he embraced his role on the team. If I had to describe Pickens with one word it would be “feisty”; he is not afraid to get in a fight and will play through the whistle. Pickens has a large frame and a huge catch radius; he will lay out for a catch even if the defender is draped all over him. He is also faster than he looks; Pickens ran a 4.47 40 yard dash and has tremendous foot quickness. He quickly gains separation on his release off the line because his feet bounce off the ground so fast. Pickens is an intentional route-runner that is smooth after the catch and has tremendous body control when making a grab. With a little bit of development, Pickens has the potential to be a true number one wideout.
The biggest knock on Pickens tends to be his situation. Being on a team that doesn’t throw the football a whole lot and having an offensive coordinator that didn’t find creative ways to get him the football has been really hurting his stock. His injury history also has not been helping. If he stayed healthy and was on a team that threw the ball more, I believe he’d be a first-round pick. My big knock on him was that he had a handful of “concentration drops” where he took his eye off the football or started running before he really had it. I could see Pickens being a guy like DK Metcalf or AJ Brown that explodes once he gets into the league and has teams questioning what they didn’t see in him.
I am a huge fan of George Pickens— I believe his potential is much higher than most of the receivers I have graded ahead of him. There is just a lot of risk to drafting him. If he lands with a franchise that is known for developing and staying patient with their players, Pickens could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. I have a second-round grade on him, but it is likely that he falls to the third round. He is a physical receiver with a diva mentality— he reminds me a lot of Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. The Ravens, Browns, and Panthers could all be in the market for a player like Pickens. Pickens isn’t the safest prospect, but if he lands with the right team in the right culture he could be the biggest steal in the draft.
Ability to Separate: 7.75/10
Release/Top of Routes: 6.25/8
Route Running: 6.75/8
Contested Catch: 7.5/8
Hands + Catch Radius: 6.5/8
Speed + Control: 6/7
Natural Talent: 4/5
Final Rating: 82
Pro Comparison: Michael Thomas
Team Fits: Ravens, Browns, Panthers
Draft Grade: Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Third Round Pick