The Pittsburgh Steelers arguably got better in terms of the offensive side of the floor. Mike Tomlin is getting a shot with a veteran in Russell Wilson while also having Justin Fields as an elite rushing quarterback. But these signal-callers are only going to be successful if their weapons run routes the right way and catch passes at a high level. Arthur Smith will be taking over in dealing with those schemes, and a key person they want to develop is George Pickens.

The success that George Pickens had with the Georgia Bulldogs is not quite the same as his Steelers stint. But he has shown a lot of promise and even All-Pro potential.

Just last season, Mike Tomlin's squad helped him lead the league in receiving yards per reception. His acumen for catching deep balls is very high, and it was evident when his averages clocked in at 18.3 per successful target. But this was clearly not enough. The Steelers want him to be more active in their different schemes.

This is where Arthur Smith comes in. The new Steelers offensive coordinator plans to involve George Pickens in more actions whether it is Russell Wilson or Justin Fields throwing. A result of this is that the young wide receiver will see more action in the slot, via Chris Ward of Steelers Now.

“Yeah. Not more than I ever have. I did at Georgia. But more than I have in this league. I’m a total receiver, I like working in the slot just as much as I like working as an outside receiver. It puts me on linebackers, put me on safeties,” George Pickens said about this new directive by Arthur Smith.

The game becomes more physical for the Steelers' weapon. But that comes with the tag of being their WR1. He has already shown his capability of running those types of routes with the Bulldogs. Now, it might just be time for him to showcase that elite ability to net Mike Tomlin's squad a deeper postseason push come winter of next year.

What is the expected output for the Steelers?

Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde (23) makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) after a catch.
© Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well, it means that his routes will become shorter over time. Those yards-per-catch averages might go down, but his involvement in checkdowns will become larger. Last year, he churned out 63 receptions for the Steelers. That number is likely going higher because he will be the default go-to for their signal callers.

This is also not the first time that Mike Tomlin will see Pickens in the slot. The Steelers saw him receive seven balls from the slot last season. This netted them 24 yards per catch, which surely got their offense going in terms of getting downs.

A lot of pressure is riding on his back. This big but welcome change is also going to affect his style of play in the coming years. But it is a great show of versatility if he succeeds as a slot receiver. Only time will tell if this is the move that gets the Steelers back into title contention and pushes Pickens to be an All-Pro receiver.