PITTSBURGH — George Pickens will lay out cornerbacks. The more the Steelers receiver suited up for the team, the more highlight reel blocks he seemed to make. Not only that, but Pickens showcased his physicality in the receiving game. It is an element of his game that has come to define it in the very early portion of his NFL career.
Pickens blocks the way he does for a few reasons. For one, it gets the defensive back on their toes right away when they do not expect it. Second, Pickens can create mind games with defensive backs that could allow him to present issues on passing plays thanks to the blocks. It is that mentality that Pickens hopes see itself through. He wants defensive backs to play off if he can make it happen.
“I don’t really say it enough as I should, but blocking can really a throw a DB off of his game,” Pickens said. “Then we can hit them with the pass, so it’s like a double-whammy. The DB gets in the game, he’s like, ‘work on the technique, work on covering this guy’. He’s not really ready for the blocking.”
Pickens gets excited about a pancake block as much as he does a one-handed catch. That speaks to the fact that George Pickens plays with an edge to his game. The edge is undeniable, and Pickens gets a lot of faith put into him as a result. On jet sweeps, he often led the way in the preseason. That is not something that Pickens takes lightly.
“With me knowing that I am a good blocker, NFL Youngboy, and the type of style I play on the field, it’s perfect,” Pickens said. “You can run the jet to my side anytime.”
The blocking was something a young Pickens immediately took a liking to as a player. It became a staple part of his game that he carried with him through high school, up to Georgia, and now, to Pittsburgh. Pickens takes pride in that being a signature part of his game because of the things it can lead to throughout a game.
“That’s always been a part of my game,” Pickens said. “Because at an age playing football, I used to play defense, so I was always a little aggressive. But when I got to offense, it was more about technique, make the right play, and you know, play in rhythm. I don’t want to say prima donna, but I want to flip that stigma, you know.”
Pickens will face Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and Eli Apple to start off his career. To say the least, that is a group that matches physicality with physicality. So, it will be a great test to see where Pickens is in terms of his physicality.