ESPN still high on George Pickens NFL draft potential following ACL injury

Georgia football-George Pickens-Malaki Starks
Michael Woods AP

George Pickens won’t be on a football field anytime soon, following surgery in April on a torn ACL.

Georgia is optimistic it could get him back at some point during the 2021 season, but when that is depends on how the rehab process goes for Pickens. If things work out, Pickens could return in the late stages of the 2021 season.

“If he’s healthy, he’s one of the most talented pass-catchers in college football with high-end speed and plenty of leaping ability,” Scarborough wrote. “At 6-foot-3, he can win his fair share of 50-50 balls. Despite playing eight of 10 games last season, he led the team with six touchdowns and tied for the lead in total receptions with 36.”

Pickens is eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft as he will be three years removed from high school. That fact is partially why Pickens may have played his final down for Georgia. He could decide to enter and start prepping for the 2022 NFL Draft, though there has been no indication that is in the cards for Pickens.

“He has a great career ahead of him,” Smart said. “We have more ways to help George get back to himself than anybody. The timeline of that? I mean who knows.”

Ja’Marr Chase is poised to be the first wide receiver taken in the 2021 NFL Draft and it should be noted he did not play in his junior season. Chase though sat out due to the pandemic and won the Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore after leading the country in receptions and receiving yards.

Without Pickens, Georgia will be looking for a new leading receiver to emerge. The Bulldogs are counting on young players such as Jermaine Burton, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and Arian Smith. There are also veterans in Kearis Jackson and Demetris Robertson that Georgia quarterback JT Daniels could turn to as well.

Related: Kearis Jackson continues to build chemistry with JT Daniels as Georgia looks for top receiver

Pickens is hardly the only intriguing draft prospect on Georgia’s 2021 roster. Among those who could shoot up draft boards with a strong season include Daniels, offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, defensive lineman Travon Walker, outside linebackers Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith and safety Lewis Cine.

The 2021 NFL Draft is set to start on Thursday with the first round. Georgia could potentially see Azeez Ojulari, Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes all taken in the first 32 picks of the draft. The Bulldogs have had at least one player taken in the first round in each of the past three drafts.

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