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Analyst Reveals Bold Prediction for George Pickens in 2024

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens

It’s that time of the year where rankings, projections and bold predictions dominate the NFL news cycle. Pittsburgh Steelers third-year wide receiver George Pickens is one player that is getting a lot of hype before the season.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com named Pickens as a top five candidate to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record in 2024. Pickens surpassing Johnson’s 1,964 receiving yards seems like a little much, but leading the league in touchdowns could be attainable.

“Pickens is easily the No. 1 receiver for the Steelers after they traded Diontae Johnson to Carolina, and now Pickens gets a quarterback upgrade in Russell Wilson. In four games last year when Johnson was hurt, Pickens had two outings with at least 22.7 PPR points. He also scored at least 20.1 PPR points in two of three games with Mason Rudolph, who was an upgrade over Kenny Pickett. Say what you want about Wilson, but he threw 10 touchdowns to Courtland Sutton in Denver in 2023. And Wilson has six seasons on his resume where a receiver has scored double digits in touchdowns (DK Metcalf twice, Tyler Lockett twice, Doug Baldwin and Sutton), with Baldwin leading the NFL in touchdown catches for Seattle in 2015 with 14. Wilson should help make Pickens a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues with the chance to be a top-10 option, and I plan to draft him as early as Round 4. As stated in the bold predictions in this magazine, Pickens has the chance to lead all receivers in touchdown catches this year,” Eisenberg wrote.

Steelers WR George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens during minicamp on June 13, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pickens could be bound for an All-Pro leap. Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni believes he’s on the brink of stardom.

“He just has to pick it up and take the cheese and do the things we ask him to do,” Azzanni said at minicamp. “He can to anything he wants. He’s that talented. Ray Charles can see that, you don’t need to be a coach. We know that’s out there for him if he wants it.”

Pickens caught 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores in his rookie season in 2022. Last season, he elevated his game with 63 receptions for 1,140 yards and five touchdowns. Pickens’ 18.1 average per reception in 2023 led the league.

Pickens confirmed to reporters at minicamp that he’s playing in the slot more than ever in Smith’s system.

“Yeah. Not more than I ever have. I did at Georgia. But more than I have in this league,” Pickens said about playing in the slot.

Pickens views himself as a complete receiver, so he welcomes lining up wherever.

“I’m a total receiver, I like working in the slot just as much as I like working as an outside receiver,” Pickens said. “It puts me on linebackers, put me on safeties.”

“Speed, splitting defenders, that’s the biggest thing in the slot,” Pickens added. “If you got super, super good speed, you can split defenders and it’s going to be easy to score.

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.