Falcons prospect and UGA alum George Pickens impresses at NFL Combine

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The Falcons have been pegged as “likely” to deal Calvin Ridley this offseason, as Steve Wyche most recently reported. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith spoke to members of the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where they predictably didn’t provide any clarity on the Ridley situation. However, Ian Rapoport did provide further information. On NFL Network, Rapoport called the situation extremely complex but emphasized that IF he were to get traded, Ridley would fetch “a lot” in return.

Even with Ridley on the roster in 2022, the Falcons need to bolster the receiver room. If Atlanta does trade Ridley, it becomes one of the team’s most pressing needs this offseason. And thankfully, this draft class is loaded with wideouts. One being Georgia product George Pickens, who sent a message to evaluators on Thursday night.

Pickens dazzled with his 40-yard dash times of 4.43 and 4.40 seconds at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, later “adjusted” to a more than respectable 4.47. 

Pickens’ straight-line speed is awe-inspiring, but his catch radius and body control are even better. His former teammate Derion Kendrick told reporters that those aren’t even his most impressive attributes.

“I’d say it’s his intelligence at the position, he’s a very smart receiver, he knows what the DB is trying to do to him,” Kendrick said. “So he knows how to release and influence you on his routes. He may go get the ball a certain way on certain plays, things like that make him special.”

Pickens suffered a torn ACL last March at the start of spring practice, but he rehabbed and made it back to help the Dawgs win the National Championship. By October, less than seven months after the injury, Pickens was running routes at practice.

Pickens thinks of himself as a first-round pick. The tape agrees, and now so does the stopwatch.

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