WR George Pickens, Georgia*

6’3” – 190 lbs.

Background:

Five-star recruit who originally committed to Auburn, but ended up attending Georgia. Had his biggest output as a freshman, going 49-727-8 (14.8), but was better on a per-game basis the following year, with a 36-513-6 (14.3) line over eight games. Spent most of this past season rehabbing from a torn ACL sustained during spring practice, coming back for the last four games and finishing with a 5-107-0 (21.4) line before declaring.

Positives:

Tall, long-limbed split end. Efficient with his release at the line of scrimmage against press. Good competitive toughness to stay on track through the route against physical defenders. Nice hip sink into his stems, with the snap and burst to generate separation at the top of the route; doesn’t waste time with too much window dressing. Overall speed looked very good before his injury, with enough juice to threaten defenses deep. Knows how to get inside positioning to shield defenders from the ball. Finds soft spots in zone coverage. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder and hides his hands until late. Presents a wide radius because of his length and overall flexibility; can pluck the ball away from his frame with nice form. Very good body control and willingness to lay out for the catch. Can be a weapon on back-shoulder throws. Good concentration to come down with passes through contact and/or in tight coverage. Overall competitiveness and creativity after the catch are solid.

Negatives:

Never really produced quite like the top recruit he was when he first committed to Georgia, and wasn’t very productive after coming back from his ACL injury, which may affect his draft stock depending on how comfortable teams are with his medicals. Kind of a simple route tree, with a lot of hitches and curls in addition to deep routes down the sideline. Can be prone to push-offs downfield. Some defenders were able to work through his thin frame to disrupt throws even when shielded from the ball. Might need to add more functional strength to hold up as a blocker against bigger cornerbacks.

Summary:

A bit of a risky pick after his junior season was derailed by injury, but showed dynamic traits prior to getting hurt, with a tantalizing combination of length, speed, explosiveness, leaping ability, body control, focus, and competitive toughness, traits which could make him a quality starter on the outside in the pro level. Draft stock really depends on how comfortable teams are with his medicals, but possesses higher upside than some of the projected first-round receivers.

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