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The CHGO Sports crew continues “Making the Case” for prospects the Chicago Bears should consider drafting.
On April 1, I made the case for the Bears to select former Cincinnati Bearcat wide receiver Alec Pierce in the upcoming NFL Draft. If Chicago elects to go in a different direction, the organization still needs to desperately add a playmaker for quarterback Justin Fields.
One way they could fill that need is by drafting George Pickens. Here is why the Bears should consider selecting the former Georgia Bulldog wide receiver.
George Pickens’ Strengths
One of the first attributes that stands out about Pickens is his hands. He consistently plucked passes out of the air to secure receptions for the Bulldogs.
Even if throws seemed out of reach, Pickens’ ability to lay out for passes and corral the football into his body helped him to make some difficult catches and to limit drops.
Another area of Pickens’ game that can’t be found on a stat sheet but will be valued by the coaching staff, specifically from wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, is his effort on blocking. Pickens has some nastiness to him.
Here is Pickens’ first snap in his fourth game of his college career against Notre Dame.
Here he is against Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl last season.
Pickens made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs, securing 49 receptions for 727 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman. In a condensed 2020 season, Pickens started all eight games and caught 36 passes for 513 yards and six touchdowns.
His junior year was derailed after he tore his ACL in a 2021 spring practice. Remarkably, though, Pickens did play in the final four games of the season, and he added to his highlight reel with a 52-yard reception in the National Championship victory against Alabama.
George Pickens’ Weaknesses
Regardless of what draft profile you read on Pickens, mostly all of them will mention the 6-foot-3, 200-pound wide receiver needs to bulk up.
Especially since he will be competing against more physical corners while also playing in a 17-game regular season. So adding more muscle to his frame would definitely benefit Pickens in the long run.
Another area that may make some teams hesitant about Pickens is his health.
After playing in 12 games in his first year at Georgia, Pickens most productive as a Bulldog, he only played in the same amount of games in the last two seasons. The COVID-19 pandemic limited his sophomore year to just eight games and the ACL tear forced him to play in four.
On the “Move The Sticks” podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, Jeremiah weighed in on how the injury could impact Pickens’ draft projection.
“George Pickens would be the name I would keep an eye on,” Jeremiah said. “Coming off the ACL, he has a ton of ability. He’s somebody that has a wide range. If George Pickens went early two, maybe snuck into late one or if he went in the middle of the third round, I think it’s all in play.”
Make The Case
This is pretty simple.
The Bears need playmakers for Fields, and Pickens would be an immediate upgrade at the wide receiver position.
A trio consisting of Darnell Mooney, Bryon Pringle and Pickens would help get the most out of Fields in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense. And since this season is all about Fields taking a jump – which Eberflus indicated should happen – the Bears just need to ensure there are capable playmakers in the building to grow with the young quarterback.
The Bears have three picks on Day 2 (No. 39, No. 48 and No. 71), and if Pickens is available and he aligns with general manager Ryan Poles’ big board, then it looks like Fields will be getting a new target in the receiving corps.
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