George Pickens Is a High-Upside Lottery Ticket for the Steelers

Check out the initial betting implications, fantasy football projections, and player comparisons for Pickens with the Steelers?

The Pittsburgh Steelers halted George Pickens' slide in the draft by taking the receiver with the 52nd overall selection.

Despite never having more than 727 receiving yards at Georgia, Pickens offers enticing upside as a prospect. He was a huge recruit coming out of high school and put together his best season in his first year in Athens, which gives him an elite 97th-percentile breakout age of 18.5, according to PlayerProfiler. Pickens would've likely produced a better year in 2021 but wound up missing most of the campaign with a torn ACL. Injuries limited him to just 24 total games in college.

What are the Steelers getting with Pickens?

Player Comparisons

numberFire's Brandon Gdula breaks down Pickens' profile and gives a top comparison.

Gdula's draft database has found these 10 prior prospects to have the most similar statistical profiles to Pickens’. Keep in mind that these are based not on play style or traits but age, athleticism, draft equity, experience, efficiency, and production.

Rank George Pickens Profile Comparisons Similarity
1 Terrace Marshall Jr. 94.7%
2 Aaron Dobson 90.6%
3 Justin Hunter 89.7%
4 Josh Reynolds 86.5%
5 DeVante Parker 84.7%
6 Justyn Ross 84.5%
7 Denzel Mims 84.4%
8 Alec Pierce 83.9%
9 DJ Chark 83.2%
10 Van Jefferson 82.9%

Gdula's Take: Pickens broke out early at Georgia in his age-18 season. That's nothing to write off. Since then, though, he hasn't played a lot of games. He's climbed roughly 20 spots on consensus big boards since the start of April, likely indicating teams are seeing enough from him as he continues to rehab from an ACL tear.

George Pickens' 2022 Fantasy Football Projection

Gdula’s initial projections for Pickens include 62 grabs, 749 yards and 3.2 scores, making him the PPR WR54 for the season.

Despite losing JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason, the Steelers didn't have a glaring need at receiver with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool in the fold. But Pickens' upside was likely too much for them to pass on, and the Steelers have had a lot of success drafting receivers in recent years.

As for Pickens' 2022 fantasy outlook, he'll probably find it difficult to carve out a big enough role to make much of an impact in Year 1.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Steelers are listed at +8000 to win the Super Bowl and +850 to take the AFC North, and they have a win total projection of 7.5.