Pittsburgh Steelers: Rookie Wide Receiver George Pickens Relishes Physicality
Ravens fans have grown accustomed to disliking Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers, dating back to the days of Hines Ward's crack-back blocks.
Could the Steelers have their next pest?
Second-round pick George Pickens is known for his physicality, and he takes a lot of enjoyment in punking his opponents at the line of scrimmage.
"To be honest with you it's a thrill," Pickens told Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley. "When you're not catching the ball and you are out there, you don't have a route, it's a running play. The guy in front of you is the guy you're blocking. Blocking really ups it more to where you can make it fun and more entertaining. Kind of push them to the ground, go get the safety and move around the field faster."
Pickens was considered a first-round talent, but he's coming off a season-ending knee injury and there were multiple reports about maturity issues. Head Coach Mike Tomlin managed Antonio Brown before, and Tomlin has been clear about Chase Claypool’s “growing pains.” Now he'll look to develop Pickens' maturity.
But there's one thing the Steelers feel they can count on with Pickens, and that's some old-school physicality that has at times helped define the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.
"They're real physical. That's really the biggest thing. Aggressiveness," Pickens said of the Steelers. "That's one of the biggest models of their game. That is really one of the bigger things in my game. I'm always physical. And I'm always finesse. You put those two together, you create a Steelers mentality like the receivers they already have now."
Cleveland Browns: 'Door Is Closed' on Jarvis Landry Returning
There was belief that the Browns could bring back Jarvis Landry on a reduced contract after parting ways with the veteran wide receiver in mid-March.
However, after drafting Purdue wide receiver Kenny Bell in the third round, it appears that ship has sailed.
"Although Bell can play outside, he'll probably initially work in the slot, which would make Landry expendable," wrote Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "Other teams have expressed interest in the five-time Pro Bowler, and he could have multiple opportunities in the coming weeks. But it appears the door is closed on a Cleveland return."
Landry' leadership was a big part of the Browns' turnaround from a culture perspective. He averaged over 1,000 receiving yards in his first two seasons with the team, but injuries hampered him last season and he finished with 570 yards and two touchdowns on 52 receptions.
Cincinnati Bengals: Secondary Was the Target of Latest Makeover
The Bengals were aggressive in upgrading their offensive line in free agency. In the draft, it was all about the secondary.
Cincinnati drafted versatile Michigan safety/cornerback Daxton Hill at No. 31 overall, then traded up twice to grab cornerback/safety Cam Taylor-Britt in the second round and another safety, Tycen Anderson, in the fifth round.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who talked to executives from around the league, the Bengals were targeting cornerback Kaiir Elam in the first round but settled on Hill.
"I like their first pick (Hill), and it makes sense they would target him given their defensive coordinator's history coaching the secondary," one executive told The Athletic's Mike Sando. "He could play safety, he could play corner, he could play them all and could be a good nickel for them. He is pretty talented. Taylor-Britt can really run and he is tough, he is physical, but he's a bit of a tweener, and I'm not sure how that goes ultimately."