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Getting to know the Steelers 2022 UDFAs: Jaylen Warren

The Steelers didn’t draft a running back in 2022, but have multiple options with undrafted rookies.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Oklahoma State v Notre Dame Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2022 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster with ten undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2022 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.

Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.

Next on the list is Oklahoma State running back Jaylen Warren.


Jaylen Warren

Running back
Senior
Oklahoma State
5’8” 215 lbs

After two years at Snow College, the same community college where Brett Kiesel started his college career, Jaylen Warren spent 2019 and 2020 at the Utah State where he had 151 rushing attempts for 821 yards and eight touchdowns as well as 20 receptions for 215 yards. Transferring to Oklahoma State for an additional senior season, Warren rushed for 1,216 yards with the Cowboys on 256 attempts and 11 touchdowns along with 25 receptions for 225 yards.


Current Steelers at the position:

Running back

  1. Najee Harris
  2. Benny Snell Jr.
  3. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  4. Trey Edmunds
  5. Mataeo Durant
  6. Jaylen Warren

Draft Profiles:

There was more adequate information in the terms of breakdowns for Warren heading into the 2022 NFL draft. Here is a breakdown from si.com:

Pros:

Determination is a hard factor to quantify, but the peripherals of Jaylen Warren’s journey from JUCO to the draft suggest that he has plenty of it. His style is that of a north-south runner, rarely ever losing yardage. Warren has short, choppy footsteps that allow him to shift direction rapidly. He keeps his weight underneath him, which helps him maintain balance through most contact. Warran showcases above-average acceleration for someone of his size. His physical metrics are NFL-ready back based on height-to-weight ratio. Warren shows good vision, following blockers and consistently hitting the correct hole.

Cons:

Acceleration is there for Warren, but long speed is certainly not. Most college defenders can easily catch him from behind. His weight is adequate, but his height is less than ideal at five-foot-eight. Despite his compact frame, Warren doesn’t consistently lower his shoulder when making contact. He often fails to drive his legs after contact, even while hitting holes hard. Warren shows limited elusiveness, possibly limiting his role at the next level. He wasn’t asked to catch many passes in college, so it’s unclear whether Warren can excel in that arena.

Summary:

There is a role available for Warren at the NFL level. He shows impressive footwork and acceleration for a player of his size. His limited stature might limit his upside, but it allows him to get naturally small when running through holes. Warren has a north-south running style that perfectly suits his abilities. If he can learn to consistently lower his shoulder and drive his legs through contact, he could cement himself in a backup role or as a goal-line back. His long speed and lack of elusiveness will likely prevent him from being a three-down back at the next level. That said, there is plenty of value in a running back who knows how to pick up three or four yards on any given play.

Here is another draft profile from nfldraftbuzz.com:

Strengths

Not truly explosive, but possesses enough speed to beat linebacker to the edge.

A quick, smooth athlete with the footwork to make sharp cuts and redirect his momentum in a flash. Shows good vision and patience with natural running instincts.

Shows a surprising burst to beat linebackers to the edge. Can plant his foot in the ground and explode, showing better straight-line speed than expected.

Does not possess top breakaway speed, though he’s rarely caught from behind.

Has sneaky speed but won’t always get to the corner. Runs low through the hole with size and strength to move the chains as an interior runner. Has a strong stiff-arm and spin move to slip defenders. Best in goal-line situations finds another level of determination. Good recognition as a runner and pass blocker. Natural receiver with versatility as a route-runner.

Has the feet and feel running between the tackles and in the open field. He has very good vision and patience to pick through defenses.

Has good burst to and through the hole. A patient runner with good vision and burst for the cutback. Squares his shoulders and can knock the defender back onto his heels. Good leg drive and forward lean to gain extra yardage after contact.

Weaknesses

Too indecisive and hesitant at the line of scrimmage.

Offers little in pass protection and poor technique cut blocking, fails to do more than slow down blitzers by laying down in front of them.

Lacks elite size for the position and looks maxed out physically - also carries some durability concerns. Has short legs with only average top-end speed and can be caught from behind.


Film:

To finish off the breakdown of Jaylen Warren, no evaluation is complete without film:

(WARNING: Videos could contain explicit lyrics)