GREEN BAY, Wis. The Green Bay Packers are bringing in one of the top receiver prospects, Georgia’s George Pickens, for a predraft visit this week.
Pickens suffered a tower ACL on March 23 while participating in the Bulldogs’ spring practices. On Nov. 27 – Barely eight months later – he was back for the game against Rival Georgia Tech. He had a 52-yard reception in the national championship game against Alabama on Jan. 10.
“I’m very healthy right now,” they said at the Scouting Combine. “With me coming back playing the last four games, trust and really preparing is no longer a problem.”
Following the trade of Davante Adams and the free-agent departure of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Packers might have the worst receiver Corps in the NFL. With two Picks in the first round and two more in the second, Pickens could be part of the solution by replacing the player he liked to emulate.
“I watch Davante Adams a lot,” Pickens said. “I’m bigger than Davante Adams. That’s kind of the lane I kind of want to go into because with the size I am a guy who can move is almost unguardable. ”
He has been unguardable at times. As a freshman, Pickens burst onto the national scene – and Drew quick comparisons to another towering Georgia receiver, longtime NFL great AJ Green – with 49 receptions for 727 yards and eight touchdowns. In three seasons encompassing 24 games, he caught 90 passes for 1,347 yards (15.0 average) and 14 touchdowns.
At 6-foot-3 1/4 and 195 pounds, he ran his 40 in 4.47 seconds with an elite 1.50-second clocking during the first 10 yards.
Even with a couple big plays upon his return to the lineup and an excellent Scouting Combine, Pickens is generally not listed among the top prospects in a deep receiver class.
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“I feel like (the injury) set me back in other teams’ Minds because everybody knows how serious the ACL is, ”Pickens said. “It’s a really critical part of the body. But in terms of me personally, it didn’t set me back at all. I still have a first-round mentality. ”
An eight-month comeback from the Torn ACL is Incredible, but he was driven to rejoin his teammates for the charge toward the National Championship.
“The people that thought he was just going to rehab and go to the league don’t know George at all,” quarterback Stetson Bennett said. “It’s kind of funny to hear those people talk because they don’t know how much he loves football and loves his teammates and how hard he’s attacked every day, rehab-wise, to get back to play with us – not to go to the NFL. He’s going to do what he’s going to do and he’s going to have a long career like he is. So, I’m happy for him. I know how hard he’s worked to get that knee right and how difficult it’s been for him. And he’s done that job pretty well. ”
Having already worked through the mental hurdles, they will be all systems go for his new team. With size, ball skills, challenged-catch ability and a history of blocking, he is one of the most talented receivers in the draft.
And one of the most driven.
“I realized that I’m a real hard worker,” he said. “I’m hard on myself. When I figured that out, I figured out when you know yourself, you can’t lie to yourself. I put those two together and I was able to come back faster than I thought I was going to be able to come back. ”
Pickens met with the Packers at the Scouting Combine. This visit will give Pickens another opportunity to sell himself to a team that wears a familiar “G” on the bead.
“I really want teams to just see the person I am, because the type of play style I (have) and how I am on the field are two different people than the type of person I am right now,” he said. “I play with a chip on my shoulder, and that’s how I’ve always been, that’s how I’m always going to be.”