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1/10/22 - Indianapolis - Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver George Pickens (1) after he made a long first down catch in the first quarter at the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday, January 10, 2022. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

George Pickens’ best NFL trait was actually on display Wednesday at NFL combine

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Georgia football wide receiver George Pickens displays confidence at NFL combine

Thursday will be a very important day for George Pickens’ future. The former Georgia wide receiver will run the 40-yard dash and show off his vertical jump in Indianapolis as a part of the NFL draft combine. Pickens is going to save participating in the broad jump until Georgia’s pro day, set for March 16.

Pickens was asked about what he might run, given he suffered a torn ACL not even a year ago. Teams will be eager to see how his knee is and will want to see his top-end speed.

For Pickens, he wants to go fast. Faster than most would expect of him

“Probably 4.3, 4.4,” Pickens said on Wednesday. “People don’t really know that. Me saying that number, people are like, ‘Whoa.’”

For all of his leaping ability or his vice-grip hands, neither is Pickens’ best skill. Nor will his 40-yard dash be why a team takes him in the 2022 NFL Draft.

It’s his confidence that will have him in the NFL.

Related: Georgia WR George Pickens speaks out, brings ‘first-round mentality’ to NFL Combine

Consider Pickens’ final catch as a Georgia Bulldog. It came in the win over Alabama, giving Georgia its first National Championship since 1980. The ball was overthrown and most receivers would’ve let it fall to the ground.

Yet Pickens knew what he was playing for. Not only could he now use overcoming the injury as something to show NFL teams, he’d also have the chance to help put one of the best teams in the country over the top.

That’s exactly what he ended up doing, not even 10 months out from a torn ACL.

“I realized that I’m a real hard worker,” Pickens said. “I’m hard on myself, and when I figured that out, I figured out that if you know yourself, you can’t lie to yourself. I put those two together and I was able to come back faster than I actually thought I was going to be able to come back.”

For comparison, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets tore his ACL three weeks after Pickens tore his. While every injury is different, Murray is still waiting to get back onto the court.

Pickens covered a number of areas while meeting with reporters in Indianapolis on Wednesday. He joked about how it seemed like half his team was at the combine, as Georgia is the most-represented school with 14 invitees. He spoke about how special the 2021 team was.

He also compared himself to All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. It speaks to the belief in his own abilities and the confidence he has in himself. Something he’ll need in the NFL.

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