Some Coaches and Scouts Are Worried About the “Big Red Flags” of a Potential Bears Draft Pick

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Some Coaches and Scouts Are Worried About the “Big Red Flags” of a Potential Bears Draft Pick

Chicago Bears

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman spoke with NFL coaches, scouts, and other personnel to get the nitty gritty on the 2022 NFL Draft. And from a Chicago Bears perspective, the #takes accompanying Georgia wide receiver George Pickens have my full attention.

Pickens is a popular pre-draft option for a Bears team thirsting for receiver help. And there has been buzz building around his name as someone on Chicago’s radar. But before you start stitching his name on the back of a uniform, these words of caution from some anonymous scouts and position coaches are reason enough to pump the brakes.

When asked which receiver has the most boom-or-bust potential, two receiver coaches name-checked Pickens. That, in isolation, isn’t reason enough to sound the alarms. In fact, that assessment might be spot on. But that’s just the beginning.

For instance, one receivers coach tells Feldman that Pickens has “a lot of growing up to do.” They went on to add that “there’s just so many red flags, and they’re big red flags.”

A scout chimed in to also name Pickens as their top boom-or-bust candidate, saying: “There’s a lot of upside, but he can’t get out of his own way.”

Meanwhile, a different receiver coach who also chose Pickens as the biggest boom-bust candidate rattled off Pickens’ strengths (size, range, deep-ball prowess, consistency in beating press coverage) while calling him a top-6 talent in terms of receivers in this class. And yet, said coach closed out by adding “But I wouldn’t touch him.”

These aren’t descriptions you want associated with a player who could potentially be GM Ryan Poles’ first pick. Not that Poles’ future hinges on his first selection as a general manager, but you’d like to get the ball rolling with some good vibes. Drafting a player with “big red flags” wouldn’t do that from the jump.

But on the other hand, saying there are many big red flags without immediately rattling them off gives me pause. Especially this time of year when there is more misdirection than a trickeration gadget play from Andy Reid’s playbook.

It isn’t that I’m not taking this seriously — I am (indeed, that’s why I wrote this post in the first place). And it will weigh into how I want this draft to go for the Bears. But I don’t want to go overboard one way or another based on the opinions of anonymous coaches and scouts. It simply isn’t fair to do so. Even still … this commentary has me wanting to exercise caution. Clearly, there is something going around regarding Pickens and the perception of immaturity.

For what it’s worth, it’s not all bad. Especially not when one coach sees Pickens as a potential top-5 receiver, a scout raves about your upside, and another coach can rattle off drool-worthy strengths. But the same coach who told Feldman Pickens has “a lot of growing up to do” sees an opportunity if the right team picks him. There is a belief that the ideal spot for someone like Pickens would be a receivers room with veterans who could help put him on the right track. Fair enough. But if that’s the case, the Bears wouldn’t be much of a fit since it has little veteran presence.

We’ll obviously monitor the buzz around the receiver position. I doubt this is the last we’ll hear about Pickens or any other receiver prospect with questions.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.