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Justin Fields and George Pickens Go Way Back

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Justin Fields
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields at the team's OTAs, June 4, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Before starring at Ohio State, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields spent one season with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2018. During that time, head coach Kirby Smart was recruiting a kid out of Hoover High School in Alabama named George Pickens. Pickens committed to Georgia, but Fields left for Columbus in 2019.

The two crossed paths in high school, however. Fields and Pickens go way back.

“I knew George before y’all knew George,” Fields said, via Jarrett Bailey of Behind the Steel Curtain. “I’ve known George since high school. He’s always been the same. Just a freak athlete, crazy receiver. You can just throw it up there when nobody’s open and he’s most likely going to come down with it. He’s the same player that I’ve known since high school.”

Bailey noted that Fields and Pickens are clearly building up a good on-field rapport at OTAs.

In the last two seasons, the Steelers’ quarterbacks managed to throw only 25 touchdown passes. Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph all have left town. With Russell Wilson and Fields in the picture now, this could be a breakout year for Pickens. He’s already shown signs of stardom with Rudolph late last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens at the team’s first OTAs session June 6, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pickens has worked on adding to his game as a route runner and diversifying his route tree in game situations this offseason. He’s also put in work with the “Route God” down in Florida. The Route God, also known as James Everett, also trains Diontae Johnson.

“I worked on quicker routes,” Pickens said. “You know, I feel like I’m already dominant at the line, so it’s about getting quicker, really.”

Fields never had a receiver like Pickens in Chicago. He was throwing to the likes of Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool and Equanimeous St. Brown for the most part. Tight end Cole Kmet was his best receiver before DJ Moore arrived in 2023.

Pickens is on another level. And this could be the year where he makes an All-Pro leap. Wilson is in pole position to be the starter, but if Fields supplants him or sees playing time, he and Pickens could form a dynamic QB-WR duo.

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