Carter Warren didn’t expect his final season at Pitt to end after four games. The offensive tackle entered his senior season in 2022 as a captain and a starter on a Pitt team that entered the season ranked No. 17 and had high aspirations after winning the ACC Championship in 2021.
Warren was also starting on an offensive line that featured all seniors, but Pitt lost their second game of the season in overtime to Tennessee, and Warren went down with an injury in the Panthers’ win over URI and wouldn’t suit up in the blue and gold again. During an interview with Steelers Depot at the Luxor Hotel during Shrine Bowl Week, Warren talked to Steelers Depot about his injury and rehab, playing with Kenny Pickett and getting ready for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Despite the injury ending his Pitt career and robbing him of an opportunity to further boost his NFL draft stock, Warren is keeping a positive attitude.
“It was tough, but I got God by my side and he got me through it all,” Warren said. “My mental health was good, a lot of people were surprised about how I went about it. Everything turned out well.”
Warren views his time away from the field in a positive manner. While not playing was obviously tough, being on the sidelines allowed him to rest and recover while also seeing the game in a different manner.
“It’s been really good,” Warren said about his time away helping him develop his game from a mental aspect. “Even more than that, I’ll say, my body, I played six years. I never really had a true rest time like this,” Warren said. “Got a good reset.”
Warren could’ve left Pitt and declared for the NFL Draft after the 2021 season. He likely would’ve been a later Day 2 selection had he declared, but he decided to go back to Pitt for another season to work on his run blocking.
“It was my run game. A lot of people felt like I wasn’t dominant in the run game. And I pride myself on being a perfectionist, so I wanted to go back and fix things. And my offensive line was back with me, I’m a team guy, so I was like ‘hey, let me come back with the boys.’”
He was also voted a captain for his final season. He talked about bringing leadership to the Panthers in 2022.
“My teammates know I’m trustworthy, dependable, if anyone needs something, I’m here for them. When they voted me team captain I wasn’t surprised. I know the leadership I bring to the team, so I was ready to lead them boys.
While Warren isn’t participating in practices or the Shrine Bowl Game and won’t participate in the NFL Combine despite receiving an invite, he will participate in Pitt’s Pro Day.
Warren also trains under offensive line guru Duke Manyweather, and he said working with Duke has been “an amazing experience.” To train, he also uses yoga and pilates to improve his flexibility and boxing to improve his hands. He said boxing helps improve his hand speed at the point of attack.
“Hand speed, just being able to get my hands on the guy quicker than he can on me. That definitely translates to football in all aspects,” Warren said.
He also said he tries to take aspects of his game from San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams and Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
“I kind of take the footwork aspect from Trent Williams, the way he moves, the way he get outta the stance. That’s everything I want in my game. So I try to master that,” Warren said. “But Tyron Smith, his consistency from stance to start, he’s one of the best in the game, so I respect both of them and I definitely take from both of them.”
With Pitt and the Steelers sharing a facility, Warren also said he was able to pick up on different drills and different techniques from watching the Steelers practice. He also told us he met with Pittsburgh while in Las Vegas and thought he had a “great” interview.
He also said he expects to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round, but said he just wants an opportunity.
“With God by my side, we’ll see.”
The Steelers are likely to address the offensive line position in some capacity this offseason. Offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor is under contract for two more seasons, while Dan Moore Jr. just wrapped up his second season. The Steelers likely will give Moore one more year as a starter and bring in an offensive tackle to develop who can replace Moore if he struggles or Okorafor if they decide to let him walk in free agency.
In the middle rounds, Warren could be the perfect candidate. He has familiarity with Pickett as he was his blindside blocker at Pitt, and was a very good one as he was All-ACC Second Team in 2021. There’s interest on the Steelers’ end given that they met with him already, and I’m sure he’s a guy Pickett would love to bring aboard. There’s a lot of time until the 2023 NFL Draft in April, but Warren is a name that Steelers fans should be paying attention to.