I expect I’ll be drafting George Pickens in a lot of leagues. He was good as a rookie, and I’m expecting he’ll take a big step forward.
The hands, of course, are unbelievable. He had that Beckham-type catch at Cleveland, and he came up with a couple other remarkable grabs as well. He’s rangy, and with unusual hands. And I think he’ll benefit from Pittsburgh’s passing game in general taking a nice step forward, with Kenny Pickett moving into his second season.
Playing around with the numbers, I put together a list of receivers who finished with similar rookie receivers. I left out the guys who totally dominated – Chase, Jefferson, Beckham – but instead focused on wide receivers who caught 50-70 passes (but not more) and also averaged over 14 yards per catch.
I found 22 such receivers, then looked up how they performed in their second seasons. The hit rate was remarkably good. Three of the players missed at least seven games (I’ve got them tagged with black dots) but of the remaining 19, all but 3 finished with top-22 numbers. That’s in PPR formats (with Pickens being a downfield-type of guy, he should rank higher in standard rather than PPR formats).
Most or many of us agree that Pickens will be a top-30 receiver in 2023, but that might be a little conservative. Could make more sense to move him up to around 20th among wide receivers. Screams out as a breakout kind of prospect.
|COMP RECEIVERS FOR GEORGE PICKENS|
|2004||Andre Johnson, Hou.||16||79||1142||14.5||6||230.4||18|
|2005||Roy Williams, Det.||13||45||687||15.3||8||161.7||35|
|2007||Marques Colston, N.O.||16||98||1202||12.3||11||284.2||8|
|2008||Dwayne Bowe, K.C.||16||86||1022||11.9||7||230.2||16|
|2009||DeSean Jackson, Phil.||15||62||1156||18.6||12||263.3||10|
|2012||A.J. Green, Cin.||16||97||1350||13.9||11||301.8||4|
|2012||Julio Jones, Atl.||16||79||1198||15.2||10||261.8||11|
|2012||Torrey Smith, Balt.||16||49||855||17.4||8||183.4||31|
|2013||Josh Gordon, Cle.||14||87||1646||18.9||9||314.4||3|
|2013||T.Y. Hilton, Ind.||16||82||1083||13.2||5||220.9||19|
|2014||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||16||76||1210||15.9||6||233.0||14|
|2015||Sammy Watkins, Buff.||13||60||1047||17.5||9||218.8||20|
|2015||Mike Evans, T.B.||15||74||1206||16.3||3||212.6||22|
|2018||JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.||16||111||1426||12.8||7||298.9||8|
|2018||• Cooper Kupp, LAR||8||40||566||14.2||6||135.1||51|
|2020||DK Metcalf, Sea.||16||83||1303||15.7||10||273.3||7|
|2020||A.J. Brown, Ten.||14||70||1075||15.4||12||249.5||11|
|2020||Terry McLaurin, Was.||15||87||1118||12.9||4||225.8||20|
|2020||• Deebo Samuel, S.F.||7||33||391||11.8||1||80.7||96|
|2021||Chase Claypool, Pitt.||15||59||860||14.6||2||166.6||38|
|2021||• Jerry Jeudy, Den.||10||38||467||12.3||0||85.0||85|
|2022||DeVonta Smith, Phil.||17||95||1196||12.6||7||256.6||9|
|2023||George Pickens, Pitt.||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|