After one of the best rushing outputs as a team that the Pittsburgh Steelers had in more than six seasons, it’s no surprise that rookie undrafted free agent running back Jaylen Warren graded out well coming out of the Week 10 20-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.
As a team, the Steelers rushed for 217 yards in the win, the first time the team cracked 200 yards on the ground since the 2016 season in a matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Warren chipped in with 37 yards on nine carries and added three catches for 40 yards, providing the Steelers with a terrific 1-2 punch with second-year starting running back Najee Harris in the win.
For his efforts against the Saints, Warren cracked the top 15 highest-graded rookies in Week 10 from Pro Football Focus, landing at No. 6 overall with a grade of 75.5 overall. That happens to be the second-highest grade of the season for the undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State.
“The harsh reality that few want to admit around western Pennsylvania is that the rookie UDFA has resoundingly outperformed former first-rounder Najee Harris,” PFF’s Michael Renner writes regarding Warren landing in the top 15 highest-graded rookies for Week 10. “In a win over the Saints, Warren racked up 37 yards and three forced missed tackles on nine carries and hauled in three receptions for 40 yards.”
Warren was good on Sunday against the Saints, that much is true. He ran hard, made plays out of the backfield and was rather difficult for defenders to get on the ground cleanly.
That said, he wasn’t better than Harris, regardless of what PFF had to say about Harris in the win over the Saints.
According to charting from Steelers Depot, Warren and a successful run rate of just 11% (1-for-9) on the afternoon. He did force three missed tackles, but Harris forced six missed tackles in the win and had the longest run of the season at 36 yards.
Warren is really good in his role, and he took advantage of an increase snap percentage (36 snaps Sunday, 43%). He’s good where he’s at though. Asking him to do more is a major stretch right now, especially taking over the starting running back job.
He deserves a ton of praise for his performance though. His 26-yard catch-and-run sparked a Steelers drive, and his 21-yard run sealed the win, hurdling a Saints defender on the boundary to move the chains. The Steelers are fortunate he’s their No. 2, forming a solid 1-2 punch with Harris moving forward.