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Steelers WR George Pickens pulls 'all-nighters, just thinking about football'

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens enters Year 3, but sometimes he still acts like a college student, pulling all-nighters to improve his football acumen.

"I don't take a lot of time off," Pickens told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday. "Sometimes I don't even sleep. I'll pull all-nighters, just thinking about football."

A doctor might suggest to Pickens that sleep is vital to mental and physical health, but the point that the wideout is obsessed with getting better stands.

With the Steelers trading Diontae Johnson in the offseason, Pickens is the clear No. 1 in a shallow Pittsburgh receiving corps. Questions about his maturity swirled last season, but the Steelers showed confidence in his growth this offseason, making him the centerpiece of the pass offense.

In 2023, Pickens finished with 1,140 yards on 63 catches for a league-high 18.1 yards per reception and five touchdowns. Those are solid numbers on a club whose passing offense struggled for most of the season.

Pickens told Mackey we still haven't witnessed 100% of his ability.

"I'd probably say 80%," Pickens said. "I can only go off of how the quarterback plays. I can thrive more. … The yardage showed it. I should have made the Pro Bowl."

The Steelers moved on from former first-round pick Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph left for Tennessee. In their place are veterans Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, along with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. Pickens feels like the changes on offense will fit him well.

"I feel like it can benefit a lot," he said. "With this type of mindset or scheme, my job is to just get open."

Pickens can get open, and with third-round rookie Roman Wilson in line to be the No. 2, he should see the pigskin a lot in 2024. In an offense that should funnel the ball his way, Pickens will have the chance to put up numbers that could lead to his first Pro Bowl nod.

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