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Analyst Tabs George Pickens as Steelers Most Overrated Player

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Steelers WR George Pickens
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens during minicamp on June 12, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens has received a lot of hype heading into the 2024 season, but one analyst isn’t buying it. Anthony DiBona of Pro Football Network thinks Pickens is the most overrated player on the Steelers.

“Surprise! Another wide receiver from the 2022 NFL Draft has landed on this list.

“It feels like we’ve been waiting an eternity for George Pickens to have a breakout season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet, he’s only heading into his third NFL season,” DiBona wrote.

“Following Russell Wilson’s arrival in Pittsburgh, Pickens will be playing with easily the most talented quarterback he’s had throwing to him at the next level. Now, we’ll wait and see if Pickens can finally put it all together on the field and live up to the hype.”

Ironically, DiBona’s colleague at Pro Football Network Lorenzo Reyna recently tabbed Pickens as the most underappreciated player on the Steelers.

“Despite playing with multiple QBs, Pickens still surpassed 1,000 yards for Pittsburgh in 2023. That production also came amid an offensive coordinator change. More astonishing is that his average yards per catch skyrocketed to 18.1 in ’23,” Reyna wrote.

Pittsburgh Steelers George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens at the team’s first minicamp session on June 11, 2024. – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Given Pickens’ quarterback and offensive coordinator situation in his first two years, I can’t see how he’d be considered overrated. I mean, he recorded a league-leading 18.1 yards per catch in 2023 with a revolving door at quarterback. Pickens also went off at the end of the year when Mason Rudolph entered the starting lineup. All Pickens needs is competent quarterback play. Russell Wilson or Justin Fields should be able to provide that.

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report thinks Pickens is in prime position to make an All-Pro leap in 2024. 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.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com believes Pickens is a candidate to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record in 2024. I don’t think I’d go that far, but Pickens should post career highs in 2024. A Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro honor should be in reach, though.

“With Russell Wilson and Justin Fields potentially being significant upgrades over their predecessors, the Steelers’ top playmaker could see his numbers spike as the focal point of a passing game committed to pushing the ball down the field,” Brooks wrote.