Steelers Insider Has Major Concern For WR George Pickens

George Pickens, Steelers
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan did a lot of good work during the 2024 NFL offseason. But, a lot of attention this season could be on wide receiver George Pickens if nothing is done with the team’s depth chart behind him.

They used the 2024 NFL Draft to address their needs along the offensive line, bolstering the depth with premium picks. In free agency, they made an uncharacteristically big splash, signing linebacker Patrick Queen away from the rival Baltimore Ravens.

They also overhauled the quarterback depth chart, bringing in Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Those two should be major upgrades over Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. However, there are some concerns with the weapons surrounding them.

Another major move that the Steelers made this offseason was trading wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers. Pittsburgh brought back Donte Jackson to provide a much-needed upgrade to their secondary.

Alas, another hole was created on the roster. Without Johnson, the Steelers do not possess a true No. 2 option at wide receiver behind George Pickens.

Pickens has all of the tools to be a No. 1 receiver in this league. However, there are some concerns about how he will handle the role with little to no established help behind him.

As noted by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, this is one of the biggest questions facing the Steelers heading into training camp. Can Pickens handle all of the extra attention that will be placed on him by opposing defenses?

“Pickens is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver after Diontae Johnson was traded. Whether he can produce without a legitimate No. 2 threat will be a weekly concern, and rightfully so,” Kaboly wrote.

The Steelers have been connected to several wide receivers on the trade market, but nothing has materialized to this point. Right now, Calvin Austin III, Van Jefferson and rookie Roman Wilson could vie to be the No. 2 behind Pickens.

Pittsburgh is also very high on tight end Pat Freiermuth. Heading into the final season of his rookie contract, he has a chance to truly break out given how much Wilson and Fields have utilized their tight ends in the past.

Freiermuth could certainly emerge as the team’s No. 2 option in the passing game. But this is a team that will have a run-first philosophy. A group effort behind Pickens could be enough if he ascends as people within the organization believe he is capable of.

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