Latrobe, PA â It is always fun when a player gets universally recognized by the media and coaches. Today was the tipping point for undrafted Jaylen Warren, who shined in practice as Najee Harris sat the session out.
âWe always say one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity,â Mike Tomlin said after practice. âThere were some short lines at running. So, kudos to him for coming ready.â
Never the biggest nor faster player, Warren has adapted that mindset to his game.
âComing out of high school, I wasn’t really highly recruited,â Warren said, surrounded by media. âCause my top-end speed wasn’t the greatest.â
What Warren lacks in speed, he makes up for with his cutting ability and strength. Built low to the ground in conjunction with his hard running style, he is like a wrecking ball when sifting through the defense. It comes together as Warren carries the football, so it is easy to see why he has thrived everywhere he has played.
From the JUCO level to Utah State to Oklahoma State, Warren has consistently outperformed expectations, and it appears the same result is coming to fruition with the Steelers.
âI have a really thin line coming is as an undrafted rookie,â Warren said. âSo, I can’t really make a lot of mistakes like the starters can. Just keep it up and don’t do anything to mess up.â
Warren said he put a big emphasis on running after OTAs. The coaches mentioned his conditioning would be a paramount requirement. So, he began to run and run.
âSo, when they gave us the month off,â Warren said. âI was just running and running. Trying to keep myself conditioned. I heard stories of great running backs, running hills. They had like a conditioning, and I’d do that and a little bit more. Just working my way up. I take nothing for granted and work for everything that comes my way.â
With an engaging demeanor, Warren offers an embracing smile. He looks nothing like 215-pound power back standing at his 5-foot-8 frame. Once the ball is snapped, he becomes an imposing ball carrier.
âI’d say at the beginning of football coming out of high school,â Warren said in reply to the toughness he brings to running the football. âIt was something I had to force upon myself. Coming to this point, it’s just something automatic. As soon as I get on the field, it just comes out without even it.â
Plenty of camp remains, but Warren is proving himself to be an uncovered gem.