The three-catch, 43-yard performance against Seattle, highlighted by an excellent route on a 26-yard TD from Mason Rudolph in which he tapped both feet in bounds, continued the buzz Pickens has generated all training camp.
"He's a freak, that's what he is," fellow receiver Diontae Johnson boasted of Pickens, via SI's All Steelers. "He's a freak. That's a special talent. You can't teach some of the things he does. I just be watching like, man, I be amazed at how he catches the ball sometimes. He's young. He's getting better on the daily."
With Johnson and Chase Claypool sitting out the preseason opener, it let Pickens roam free and gobble up five targets in just 21 snaps. After the first drive of the second quarter ended, the Steelers had seen enough and pulled the rookie. It's a tell-tale sign the team has big plans for a rookie when the coaching staff doesn't feel the need to give him extra reps in the preseason.
With the emergence of the 6-foot-3 Pickens, the Steelers boast an intriguing top trio of Johnson, Claypool and the rookie.
"It's going to be a big plus," Johnson said on the addition of Pickens. "They're not going to be able to cover everyone. They can't double everyone. There's always going to be a one-on-one matchup, it's up to the defense who they're going to cover."
Pickens hitting the ground running as a rookie and playing at a high level off the bat portends significant contributions as he only develops more in the coming weeks and months.
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