The odds of Jaylen Warren having the caliber career James Harrison did in Pittsburgh are low. I’ll happily be wrong about that but yeah, those chances are slim. But in terms of body type and story, two squatty undrafted players, they’re similar. That’s the comparison Mike Tomlin made during the most recent edition of The Mike Tomlin Show.
“If you look at his body structure, he has a base about him,” Tomlin told host Bob Pompeani of Warren. “He’s built for football. He’s gonna win most one-on-one confrontations because he’s got built-in leverage. Kind of a running back version of James Harrison, if you will. People never misidentified James as small. James was short. Because everybody saw the power. This guy has power and strength like that per his position that makes his size an interesting discussion.”
During his Oklahoma State Pro Day, Warren weighed in at 5’8, 207 pounds. But that doesn’t always tell the story. Looking at him, Warren is thickly built – check out the photo of him in above – with a big and strong lower half. He routinely displayed that power during the summer, first showing off during the backs on ‘backers drill the first day Pittsburgh put the pads on. Warren wasn’t just fearless but also effective, consistently standing up power rushing linebackers. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
“RB Jaylen Warren might be the name to watch. Squatty body with good leg drive and I loved his output and competitive nature, his fearlessness, in backs on ‘backers. Dude put his face in the fan with good bend and feet. Working as an upback, involved in special teams…I’m keeping an eye on him.”
Warren carried that positive play over the rest of the summer, running hard, breaking tackles, improving ball security, while making an impact on special teams. He made the 53-man roster out of camp as the team’s #2 running back and finished out Sunday’s opener after Najee Harris went down with a foot injury. Just like in camp, Warren’s pass pro was impressive and he routinely picked off linebackers. Like Harrison, Warren is strong and wins with leverage. Harrison was the shortest pass rusher in the game are barely six-feet tall but he was also the strongest and used his bull rush and dip/rip to win the edge and end his career as the franchise’s all-time sack leader.
While Warren is clearly behind Harris on the depth chart, he could have an important role this weekend against the Patriots. Harris will play but isn’t 100% and could share serious snaps with Warren. Pittsburgh needs to establish a better and more effective run game after struggling on the ground against the Bengals. Warren could play a key role in pushing the pile forward behind an offensive line still finding its footing.