Early in training camp, a pair of young players on the offensive side of the football are generating a lot of buzz at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.
Although the Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to hold a full practice in pads due to the league’s new ramp-up policy for training camp, rookie wide receiver George Pickens and second-year left tackle Dan Moore Jr. are turning heads and drawing some serious attention through four full training camp practices on Chuck Noll Field, according to third-year linebacker Alex Highsmith, he told 93.7 The Fan’s Josh Rowntree prior to practice Monday.
Asked Alex Highsmith what offensive players have impressed him most in camp so far.
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) August 1, 2022
As far as the Pickens portion of Highsmith’s answer goes, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise at all, considering the waves Pickens has made through four practices in helmets and shorts, showing off his speed, physicality, and overall body control in the air contorting for a handful of highlight-reel catches in training camp to date.
Fellow wide receiver Chase Claypool stated last week in Latrobe that Pickens was going to be the best rookie wide receiver in the NFL this season. New Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky piled on the praise Monday morning to Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley, stating that Pickens has so much bounce and change of direction in his game that you can’t even tell he was injured last season at Georgia.
“You can’t even notice he was hurt last year,” Trubisky said to Varley, according to Steelers.com. “He has so much bounce, change of direction. You are going from a college system to an NFL system, but he is picking it up very quickly. He has been making plays and turning heads out here.”
He’s generating a ton of buzz within the Steelers’ locker room, the fanbase, the local media, and even the NFL as a whole.
Could George Pickens be the most underrated pick in the draft? 👀 @steelers
— NFL (@NFL) July 30, 2022
It’s still super early in Pickens’ career, and he’s taking the right approach with all of the buzz, stating he doesn’t hear it and is going to keep working. That’s the key with young receivers, especially in today’s NFL overall. If Pickens can remain humble and hard-working, the Steelers will benefit from it, especially early.
As for Moore Jr., hearing a potential breakout pass rusher like Highsmith praising him is fantastic news for the Steelers overall, and should make the trio of quarterbacks in Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett very pleased overall.
There’s no denying Moore Jr. had his struggles last season after he was forced into the starting lineup at left tackle late in the preseason due to an injury to Zach Banner, causing Chukwuma Okorafor to slide back over to right tackle full-time. Moore Jr. was previously learning both tackle positions and was expected to be the swing tackle behind Okorafor and Banner before the injury.
Najee Harris on Dan Moore Jr: “Dan, I don’t think he gets enough recognition of what he did at left tackle going against all the guys. in our league. All the edge rushers we had last year he stood his own.” #Steelers #NFL
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) July 21, 2022
To his credit though, he stepped up and performed well down the stretch, settling into the full-time role. Now, preparing as the starter and with a full year of experience under his belt, Moore Jr. seems to be taking the necessary step forward in his game, which is great news overall for an offensive line that was terrible last season and is in desperate need of some young pieces to emerge as key building blocks.
So far, Moore Jr. is having a strong camp, at least in Highsmith’s eyes. Hopefully he can carry it over into the preseason and then the regular season, providing some stability for the Steelers’ offensive line for years to come.
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) July 20, 2022