Steelers’ RB2 Jaylen Warren Battled An Uncommon Path To The NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers trimmed their roster down to 53 players on Tuesday. A few notable players who did not make the 53-man roster included Anthony McFarland Jr., Justin Layne and Henry Mondeaux. Although “cut day” for NFL rosters gets a reputation for being a sad day for many players, there are plenty of good stories and smiling faces in the locker room who have made the roster for the first time. For the Steelers, no one was happier on Tuesday than Jaylen Warren.

Steelers

Steelers running back Jaylen Warren during the Steelers’ preseason finale versus the Detroit Lions. | Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

Warren, a JUCO transfer running back and native of Utah, played his early college years at Snow Community College. In his sophomore season at Snow, Warren pushed over 1,400 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. He also had an average of 159.4 yards per game which was first in all of JUCO in 2018.

Coming out of Snow Community College, Warren was a two-star transfer and ended up at Utah State. In his first season with the Aggies, he finished the season with over 500 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. Warren’s senior season did not go as planned, as he battled injuries for majority of the season and finished the year with only 3 touchdowns on 39 attempts.

Warren transferred to the Oklahoma State Cowboys as a graduate senior and had his breakout season in college. He went on to rush for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in his single season with the Cowboys. This included a 218-yard performance against the Boise State Broncos in Week 3 of the 2021 college football season. Warren went on to be awarded the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2021.

Steelers

Jaylen Warren running against Boise State where he rushed for a season high 218 yards. This was one of the five games in 2021 where Warren rushed for over 100 yards with Oklahoma State. | Oklahoma State Athletics

When Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was asked about how the team plans to replace Warren in 2022, he replied;

The replacement issue is Jaylen Warren, because he was a really good player for us,” Gundy said. “I have the luxury of stopping it, and looking, and then starting, and stopping, and he made a lot of yards when there really wasn’t yards there sometimes.

While in high school, Warren’s football coach Brandon Matich was speaking to a current Big 12 coach about him. At one point in the conversation, the unnamed Big 12 coach had described Warren as “not elite.” Matich believes that comment was a big part of why Warren ended up transferring to Oklahoma State for his senior season; to prove him wrong.

Did the Steelers find a diamond in the rough?

The Steelers have been looking for a reliable option at running back behind Najee Harris and Warren fits the bill perfectly because he has taken the uncommon path to get to this point in his career. Not many athletes go from a JUCO transfer to a 53-man roster in the NFL. Not to mention his senior season at Utah State was full of injuries, which those injuries alone would have caused many players to hang up their cleats and call it a career.

Warren’s best statistical season was at Oklahoma State, and that came after all of the obstacles he faced in his last season at Utah State which shows his determination and toughness. The toughness Warren has displayed throughout his career is exactly what Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II look for on a daily basis. His actions and back story are exactly what the Steelers embody as a franchise, and I believe Steelers fans will appreciate that in 2022.

What do you think of Jaylen Warren? Do you think he has what it takes to solidify himself as a solid backup running back for the Steelers? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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This content was originally published here.

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