George Pickens caught just one pass on three targets in the Steelers’ Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots. He believes those totals should have been much higher.
“I just say that because I’m a big guy that runs in the low 4.4s,” Pickens said, via TribLive.com’s Joe Rutter. “I always have a step on somebody, and my step is naturally longer than the other person, and I’m actually fast. I’m always (going to) have a step, and always feel like 99% of the time I’m open even though the ball gets there in the air and (the defender) gets time to catch back up. … But I’m open as soon as I get off the line.”
Pickens was the breakout star of Steelers training camp, but that promise has yet to translate in the regular season. Through two games, he has just two catches on six targets for 26 yards despite playing 78% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps. His lone reception against the Patriots came in the final minute of the first half, beating Jalen Mills for a 23-yard pickup down the right sideline.
Tuesday’s comments sound like a thinly veiled shot at Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who’s averaging just 5.1 yards per game through two weeks. Pittsburgh’s wideouts didn’t hide their frustration Sunday as Trubisky repeatedly settled for short checkdowns.
Pickens’ career trajectory will be worth monitoring for Patriots fans. When New England traded up to take Tyquan Thornton in Round 2 of this year’s draft, it passed on fellow wideouts Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore, who all came off the board within the next four picks.
Pierce played 47 snaps with no targets in his Indianapolis Colts debut, then missed Week 2 with a concussion. Moore has one catch on one target for 30 yards in two games for the Kansas City Chiefs and also has been used on kick and punt returns.
Thornton broke his collarbone during the preseason and landed on injured reserve, sidelining him for at least four games. The earliest he could make his regular-season NFL debut is Week 5 against the Detroit Lions.