Following a breakout performance during his rookie and sophomore season, hopes were high for Georgia WR George Pickens. However, following a non-contact injury that resulted in an ACL tear during spring practice, Pickens was limited to four games in the 2021 season. After winning a National Championship with the University of Georgia, George Pickens has elected to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. In this scouting report, we’ll breakdown what makes George Pickens a viable NFL Draft prospect, as well as a predicted 40 time, injury history, and full scouting report.
George Pickens 40 Time
George Pickens should post a 40 time in the 4.51 range at the NFL Combine in March. While speed and quickness isn’t a pivotal part of Pickens’ game, he’s not slow by any means. The league average 40 time for the wide receiver position in the NFL is 4.49, which is slightly quicker than what George Pickens should run.
George Pickens Injury History
This might be the one area that NFL scouts and front office personnel will criticize the most. Not only did George Pickens miss most of the 2021 season with an ACL tear, but he also missed several games in 2020. With that being said, Pickens was able to return from the knee injury extremely quickly.
If there is an upside for George Pickens, it’s that he’ll be a full participant in the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. As a result, he’ll have the opportunity to show teams that the knee injury does not impact his athleticism or agility. However, teams will get a full medical evaluation on Pickens, so there is potential for concern.
George Pickens Scouting Report
- Body Positioning
- Large Catch Radius
- Competitive Nature
- Concerning Injury History
- Play Strength
- Ability Versus Press Coverage
George Pickens was a three-year contributor for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Given his tall frame, George Pickens typically plays the outside receiver position on offense. Pickens has good height and solid weight for the wide receiver position in the NFL. Furthermore, his predicted 40 time of 4.51 is at the league average.
Statistically, he had his best season in 2019 where he posted 49 receptions for 727 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2020, Pickens had 36 catches for 513 yards and six touchdowns. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL prior to the 2021 season, but was able to return to participate in the final four games.
Standing at 6’3”, Pickens displays fantastic body control. On contested catches, he does a great job of putting himself in position, timing the jump, and keeping the defender out of the play. This also shows up on routes run towards the intermediate levels of the field such as slants and hitches. While he is not an elite route runner, he does a good job of positioning himself to make catches. In addition to this, he has a large catch radius due to his long arms that combined with his strong hands make him almost impossible to stop at the catch point. He also displays some juice in the open field and, above all, competitiveness.
Currently, Pickens will need to add weight to his frame. A very lean player, he struggled with physicality at times as it pertained to press coverage. Of course, this will not get any easier in the NFL. He also did not run a very expansive route tree at Georgia. Instead, he ran mostly go routes with the occasional hitch and slant mixed in. All in all, the biggest concern will be the long-term effects of his 2021 ACL tear.
George Pickens NFL Draft Projection
Pickens is a fun college football player. A ball-dominant, big-play wide receiver, he has a role in the NFL. However, players like him often struggle in the NFL initially. When winning in the air becomes more difficult, the lack of separation ability becomes amplified. Pickens is also limited as his skill set does not translate favorably to the slot. As such, he will be forced to play on the outside and have to adapt on the fly. Added to all of this is his recovery from an ACL tear that could potentially sap some athleticism from him. An interesting evaluation, I expect Pickens to be selected on day two of the draft, likely closer to the third round. However, if the medicals come back clean, he has legit WR1 potential in a downfield passing offense.