With two late first-round picks for Kansas City, the Chiefs are looking to make a move on a wide receiver, can they find the guy they want in George Pickens?
The biggest headline for the Chiefs this offseason was trading away All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill. However, this is not the first time the Chiefs have drafted to replace its big-time playmaker.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Chiefs attempted to get a suitable replacement for Hill. As there was a child abuse investigation and his season was in jeopardy, the Chiefs selected Georgia’s wide receiver Mecole Hardman in the second round.
Going into the 2022 NFL Draft, the Chiefs may likely look to the same SEC school to reload its wide receiver room. Kansas City has already made several moves, signing both Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
However, Smith-Schuster is on a one-year “prove it” deal and the franchise will need more firepower long-term for the offense, especially with Hardman and Smith-Schuster not signed beyond this season.
The Chiefs may find their best and the most likely option is George Pickens from Georgia. Pickens was a five-star recruit coming out of high school in Alabama and ranked as the 24th overall player in his recruiting class, per 247 Sports. Pickens made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs, having over 700 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman in 2019. The 2020 season was shortened due to COVID-19, but the receiver still totaled 513 receiving yards and six touchdowns in eight games played.
Though the numbers may seem like a drop in production, Georgia and the entire SEC only played conference opponents during that season and Pickens kept his production up, and likely would have put up better numbers if they added in lesser non-conference opponents.
Then in spring 2021, Pickens tore his ACL, an injury that likely could have kept him out the entire season. However, Pickens returned for the last regular-season game against Georgia Tech. Then Pickens would play in the SEC title game along with both College Football Playoff games to help guide the Bulldogs to their first National Championship in over 40 years.
In his two games against Alabama, Pickens totaled 93 yards on just three catches. Coming out of college, Pickens has that deep threat in his arsenal similar to Hardman at Georgia. It does also speak to his character that he worked to get back early to play his final collegiate season and help secure the championship.
Pickens has also been impressive in scout drills, running a 4.47 along with a 33″ vertical leap, according to NFL.com. A big playmaker could be on the Chiefs’ radar as they currently sit at No. 29 and 30 in the first round.
Pickens has shown an ability to be a problematic deep threat in the most competitive and skilled conference in college football. Along with that, he has shown grit to come back from an injury and compete against their toughest test in Alabama.
Comparatively to the other receivers in this draft, Kansas City’s best bet at a first-round wide receiver will likely be Pickens with either of their late first-round selections.