The Pittsburgh Steelers found a playmaker at wide receiver in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft in Georgia's George Pickens. In his first NFL season, Pickens caught 52 of 84 targets for 801 yards and four touchdowns. He ranked fourth among rookie wideouts in both catches and receiving yards.
Pickens' professional career got off to a solid start, but the Steelers failed to make the postseason and Pickens wasn't named to the Pro Bowl. These are two things he wants to change in 2023.
"Year two goals are Pro Bowl, and I feel like last year I feel like I got snubbed, because there wasn't a lot of guys in there at the Pro Bowl that excited me," Pickens said, via college2pro.com. "Then, [I want to go to] the Super Bowl. The two bowls. A lot of RAC, run after catch. Two bowls for sure."
Pickens saying that there weren't many players who "excited" him at the Pro Bowl last year is pretty interesting -- especially when you consider the list of wideouts that were selected over Pickens from the AFC: Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams and Ja'Marr Chase. Even NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson didn't get an invite after catching 83 passes for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns.
If you haven't been able to tell, Pickens is a competitor, but that's a quality which will allow him to be special. In the Week 13 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Pickens was seen This wasn't something that bothered head coach Mike Tomlin, who told reporters afterwards he wants those types of players compared to the ones you have to motivate.
"I'd rather say 'Whoa' than 'Sic 'em,'" Tomlin said, via ESPN. "I want a guy that wants to be a significant part of what it is that we do. Now, the appropriate and professional and mature way to express that, we're growing and working on, and we will continue to. But that spirit, that competitive spirit, the guy that wants the ball. I want that guy."
Pickens and his second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett could be two players who are set up for. Earning a Pro Bowl bid in the loaded AFC is quite the challenge, though.