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90 In 30: Steelers 2022 Training Camp Preview Series: Jaylen Warren, Derek Watt, T.J. Watt

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 offseason practices concluded last week, and next up for the team is their annual training camp, which should get underway in the latter part of July at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. Ahead of Steelers’ training camp getting underway, we will preview the team’s offseason roster three players at a time for you as part of a 30-post series. This Steelers’ roster preview, which includes outlooks for each player, will be done alphabetically by last name to make it easy to follow along with.

The next three players we will preview ahead of Steelers training camp are Jaylen Warren, Derek Watt, and T.J. Watt.


RB Jaylen Warren: The Steelers signed Warren as one of their 10 original undrafted free agents this year. In fact, he was one of two undrafted running backs signed by the team this offseason. In three college seasons at Oklahoma State and Utah State, Warren rushed for 2,037 yards and 19 touchdowns on 407 total rushing attempts. He also caught 45 passes for another 440 yards. Warren measures in at 5080, 204-pounds with 9 1/4-inch hands and 29 7/8-inch arms. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.55-seconds and had a short shuttle time of 4.42-seconds to go along with a 3-cone time of 7.13-seconds. He posted a pro day vertical jump of 34-inches and a broad jump of 9’11”.

Outlook: The Steelers did not draft a running back this year so Warren, like the other undrafted rookie running back signed by the team, Duke product Mataeo Durant, should get a shot at making the 53-man roster. Warren will need to prove himself on offense and on special teams during training camp and the preseason to give himself a legitimate shot, however. It will be interesting to see if the Steelers decide to add another veteran running back on the cheap in the coming weeks. If they do, such a transaction would obviously hurt Warren’s 53-man roster chances quite significantly. Should Warren fail to make it through all the cuts this summer, it’s possible he could land on the practice squad. The other rookie running back, Durant, will present strong competition for him for sure. It’s going to be a tough path for Warren.


FB Derek Watt: While Watt did play in every game for the Steelers in 2021, he only touched the football four times for 16 total yards in 86 total offensive snaps played during the regular season. In the playoff loss, he played all of two offensive snaps. Watt’s biggest contribution to the Steelers in 2021 was his play on special teams. He logged 332 total special team snaps during the regular season on his way to leading the team in tackles on those units with 14. He added two special teams tackles in the playoff game as well.

Outlook: In 2022, Watt is once again expected to be the leader on special teams and that should result in him finishing in the top three in total snaps on those units. He’s also expected to be at the top in special teams tackles again as well. As for how Watt might get used on offense in 2022, it’s really anyone’s guess right now. Even if Watt sees more offensive snaps played in 2022, he’s unlikely to break 10 total touches. The Steelers just haven’t used a fullback much the last few seasons. With a new quarterback and several other new pieces on offense this year, perhaps Watt will hit the 100 total offensive snap mark. We shall see. This is the final year of Watt’s current contract so it could be it for him in Pittsburgh after the season ends.


OLB T.J. Watt: What is there really to say about the NFL’s 2021 Defensive Player of the Year that hasn’t already been said? Watt had an amazing 2021 season that included him tying the all-time NFL sack record with 22.5 quarterback gets. For the regular season, Watt additionally registered 64 total tackles with 21 resulting in lost yardage. He also had 39 total quarterback hits, seven passes defensed five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 15 games and 758 total defensive snaps. He missed two games with a groin injury and that’s about the only negative for him during the regular season. In the Steelers playoff loss, Watt had three total tackles with two resulting in lost yardage. He also had three quarterback hits, one pass defensed and a fumble recovery for a touchdown in 61 defensive snaps played in that contest.

Outlook: A 2022 season like the one he had in 2021 is expected for Watt. If he stays healthy, he should be able to make another run at the NFL sack record and another Defensive Player of the Year award. The Steelers hope to keep their defensive line healthier in 2022 and if they do, that should help Watt some, even though he will still draw more than his fair share of attention in the form of extra help from opposing tight ends, running backs and guards. There are no signs of him slowing down. The Steelers need Watt to be the player he was in 2021 for them to have a chance at returning to the playoffs. He’s such a talented player and that’s all that needs to be said in this space.

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