Georgia Football: 3 monumental juniors who must stay for their final year

George Pickens Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
George Pickens Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Georgia Football
George Pickens celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the Peach Bowl. (Joshua L. Jones-USA TODAY NETWORK/Athens Banner-Herald) /

. . . George Pickens. . player. 814

This statement won’t shock Georgia fans, but George Pickens should return to Athens in 2022.

Is Pickens talented enough to be picked high in the 2022 NFL Draft? Yes, he is.

Has Pickens done enough in his Georgia career to show what he can do at the highest level in college football? Yes, he has.

So why on earth should Pickens not declare for the draft?

It’s what draft scouts call the “intangibles,” which will separate Pickens from other wide receivers. Suffering that frustrating knee injury in spring practice was a massive blow to Pickens and his Georgia football teammates.

Many commentators said that Pickens would never play again in the Red jersey, but they were wrong. While other players have in the past used an injury setback to call it quits on college, focus on recovery for their subsequent road to the draft, Pickens was nothing other than focused on returning and helping secure a national championship.

Pickens is still considered a high draft pick even with the 2022 receiver draft class stacked with so much talent. At the same time, though, he hasn’t gotten to prove himself this season.

He would likely draft high second round, or even first, as NFL teams look at his natural pass catching talent, which has netted him 88 catches for 1,286 yards and 14 touchdowns in only 22 games.

Pickens is a talent that you rarely come across. So returning to Athens will give Pickens the ability to demonstrate what he really can do. Could he be receiver No.1 in the draft — in 2023, he could.

Much will depend on how the Bulldogs end the 2021 season. A national championship might nicely close off this chapter in Pickens career.

There is, however, one interesting twist in the plot. Pickens has just signed a NIL deal with Tom Brady’s new apparel brand, “BRADY,” meaning if Pickens wants to return for his senior year, then money becomes less of an issue.