When George Pickens exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 2022 with 52 receptions for 801 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 15.4 yards per catch, it certainly looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers had found another wide receiver gem in the draft. However, Pickens still showed some lapses that could be at least partially due to his lack of playing time in college when he appeared in only 24 games in three years with the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
One of the biggest areas that people pinpointed that Pickens needed to improve on was his route running skills. Enter free agent signee and fellow wide receiver Allen Robinson II.
During Thursday’s media availability in the Steelers’ locker room during OTAs, Robinson spoke about how he sees the relationship between him and Pickens developing.
“I see a lot of myself in George as far as an ascendant player coming into a second year,” Robinson said as tweeted by the Johnstown’s Tribune-Democrat’s Amanda Godsey. “Again, for me, my second year in this league was one of my best years of my career. So being able to look back at it, where I was my second year, it still was a ton of football I didn’t know and it still was a lot of things that I didn’t know.
“Being able to kind of share that knowledge and that experience, kind of going and thinking about that early time in my career and certain things that I may have didn’t know that I wish I had known and things like that. So I definitely can relate to where he’s at, coming off a good year and the kind of talent that he has.”
Robinson himself had a decent rookie year in 2014 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, pulling in 48 receptions for 548 yards and two touchdowns. He exploded in his second season, hauling in 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. While his touchdown numbers have never again approached that level, he has exceeded that number of receptions twice in his career as well as surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in two seasons as well.
Robinson brings a wealth of experience and craft to the Steelers’ wide receiver room, and he’s already identified Pickens as the one to come alongside specifically to help achieve greatness. With what Steelers fans saw out of Pickens in his rookie year as well as what fellow Georgia alumnus Darnell Washington had to say, it’s safe to expect even greater things out of the young wide receiver in the seasons to come.
As for Pickens himself, he does not have the pressure to be the bona fide number one receiver for Pittsburgh. Diontae Johnson holds that spot with Robinson serving as a veteran option and tight end Pat Freiermuth helping provide a steady presence for quarterback Kenny Pickett. However, Pickens will have an opportunity to make a big mark this season and Robinson intends to help get him do it.