According to ESPN’s Todd McShay (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will select Georgia wide receiver George Pickens with the 42nd overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft:
42. Indianapolis Colts (via WSH)
George Pickens, WR, Georgia
The Colts don’t have a first-rounder, but Pickens has first-round traits. A torn ACL last March pushed him into the Day 2 conversation, which means this could be a steal for Indy. He is really good at getting off press coverage, and his ability to track the deep ball might be his best skill.
The 6’3”, 195 pound junior wideout caught 5 receptions for 107 receiving yards (21.4 ypr. avg.) during 4 starts in 2021, as he made a late season return after tearing his ACL during Spring of 2021 practices—helping the Bulldogs win the National Championship in the process.
During his sophomore season, when fully healthy, Pickens recorded 36 receptions for 513 receiving yards (14.3 ypr. avg.) and 6 touchdown receptions during 8 starts.
Pickens ran a 4.47 forty time at the NFL Combine. He has an impressive RAS of 9.33 out of a potential 10.0, as he’s shown no lingering effects physically coming off of the ACL tear.
Pickens has been a popular pick among Colts fans at wideout along with North Dakota State’s Christian Watson and Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce respectively.
Pickens has tremendous ball skills, a huge catch radius, and is a big time deep threat, who looks collectively fluid as a route runner. However, he needs to improve his playing strength, as he can be stifled sometimes by opposing defensive backs in press coverage.
Here’s what they’re saying on George Pickens:
#UGA WR George Pickens is one player that I’m fascinated by. Special down the field hand-eye coordination, ball tracking ability, and a twitchy route runner underneath. If he can go to an aggressive offense, he has WR1 traits.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) March 11, 2022
Shouldn’t get outside of the top-45 picks.
This George Pickens catch— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 11, 2022
George Pickens, a 6’3” WR with soft hands and a breakout age that puts him in the 97th percentile. This 2022 Draft class is bringing back the big WR pic.twitter.com/By9Z8mxhlR— Tommy Mo (@2on1FFB) January 11, 2022
I asked George Pickens if he could only show one catch to #NFL head coaches, which on would it be?— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) March 2, 2022
He mentioned this one from practice or his catch vs Cincinnati.
Story from Indianapolis: https://t.co/OGEsTNiRI7 pic.twitter.com/mf53PmgG6d
Georgia’s George Pickens had the third most catchable targets without a drop in college football at 49 as a true freshman (per @PFF).— Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 17, 2020
His catch radius and hands are flat out unbelievable for his age. Pickens is easily one of the top-10 returning players in the entire SEC. pic.twitter.com/C5M2FtCSFi
George Pickens has some pop in those mitts! pic.twitter.com/ptwbmqoWHJ— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 14, 2022
George Pickens finding the DBs blind spot & working it. That’s great separation. pic.twitter.com/BlIHghWctj— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) March 30, 2022
Pickens is a long wideout, who’s a willing perimeter blocker, that would provide a deep threat with some speed on the other side of Michael Pittman Jr.. As such, he would provide the Colts with a dynamic down the field threat, with his ability to effectively track the football and oftentimes, make spectacular diving catches for explosive passing plays.
From a skillset standpoint and given his past production (especially in the SEC), as long as the ACL checks out medically, Pickens makes a great deal of sense for the Colts at pick #42.