Georgia Bulldogs making an early impression in Steelers camp
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of training camp, and are coming off back-to-back padded practices. Throughout these practices several players have shown out in different ways. It should come as a shock to no one some of these players are also former Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, the back-to-back National Champion Georgia Bulldogs.
It didn’t take long for the NFL to start to take notice of this program, and start drafting accordingly. While the Steelers aren’t the Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to drafting Bulldogs, they have had their share in the past two seasons.
In fact, the players who went to Georgia are some of the players who absolutely have been showing out in a positive way thus far in camp.
Let’s take a look at those three players, and the impact they’re having on the roster at this juncture of training camp.
Pickens didn’t just pick up where he left off in 2022, he has shown is a more polished and efficient receiver in the early stages of camp. Sure, everyone is talking about his amazing one-handed catch over Joey Porter Jr., but his overall development has been noticeable as well.
His route-running, overall route tree development, and skill set is vastly improved over his rookie season. Can he become the Steelers’ WR1 this year? While it won’t matter to some, it certainly looks like nothing is holding Pickens back from taking that role with the team.
The Steelers 1st Round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft certainly has been eased into the lineup, but when given a chance he has proven he is more polished than many thought. Is he perfect? Far from it, but when the pads went on, and Jones was able to flash his physicality, was when he became extremely noticeable in camp.
Jones held his own in the one-on-one pass rushing drill, and this is important based on the fact many questioned his ability in this role. There was never a doubt Jones can run block, but his ability to hold up vs. the NFL’s best in pass blocking has been a pleasant surprise. As it comes to practice, Jones is going up against arguably the NFL’s best on a regular basis, but mostly against Alex Highsmith who has had a tremendous camp so far.
The man they call Mount Washington looked out of sorts during minicamp and the early stages of training camp. When you are a player who leans on your physicality, playing without pads is almost as if you are playing without your biggest asset available to you.
When the pads came on, Washington started to show his full capabilities. It started with back-to-back wins against T.J. Watt in the pass blocking drill, and continued with him going up over a defensive back to haul in a touchdown pass.
Washington might not be even close to a dual threat in the early stages of his professional career, but he certainly has proven he is more than capable when it comes to getting the job done in the blocking department. At this stage you would love to see two Bulldogs, Washington and Jones, double teaming defenders as they pave the way for either Najee Harris or Jaylen Warren.
What do you think of this trio of Bulldogs so far in camp? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes on the black-and-gold.