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Steelers RB Najee Harris Excited for 2022 UDFA Jaylen Warren; Credits Film Study for Massive Improvement

Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

Steelers RB Najee Harris Excited for 2022 UDFA Jaylen Warren; Credits Film Study for Massive Improvement

Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Najee Harris broke the franchise’s rushing and receptions records for rookies last season. Harris played the vast majority of the offensive snaps and one of the missions in Latrobe, PA during training camp this off-season is for the organization to establish a clear number two running back to help take the pressure off of Harris. The second-year running back, when the season opens in Cincinnati a little over a month from now, has to have a viable threat to replace him when he comes off the field.

According to reports, Jaylen Warren is staking his claim to be that running back and Harris might be one of his biggest fans.

“Did y’all interview him?” Harris asked. “I’m glad you interviewed him, You guys should all interview him, pick his brain a little bit.”

Steelers Najee Harris

Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Najee Harris (#22) looks on during training camp at Saint Vincent College in July 2022. | Jordan Schofield / SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO_PHOTO)

Harris and Warren had very different paths to the NFL. The former Alabama Crimson Tide star played for National Championships in college and was a first-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2021. Warren began his collegiate career at Utah State, but transferred to Oklahoma State for his senior season.

In his first season as a starter, he rushed for over 1,200 yards in 13 games and 11 touchdowns. His performance helped lead the program to a close victory in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. Despite his contributions, Warren went undrafted and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers Warren

Matt Freed / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The 5’8″ Warren has been physically impressive since the Steelers put on the pads at Saint Vincent College. It was reported by many including SteelerNation’s own, Spencer Schultz, that he defeated Robert Spillane in the legendary backs vs backers drill, which is a Steelers training camp staple in what head coach Mike Tomlin called ‘varsity reps.’ The rookie tailback seems to have gotten better every day during full contact work. His time with Harris in the film room may explain why the newcomer has thrived.

“There is a lot of stuff you can correct in the film room. Just looking at other teams, seeing what other guys do,” Harris commented on his interactions with Warren. “I’ve been trying to tell him, this is some of the stuff you gotta look for so you can play faster.”

The rookie running back had said earlier to those on hand, that ‘the number one thing’ he learned from Harris was how much film study that he put in as the lead back for the Steelers. It was something he wanted to emulate. The desire to improve is something coaches and team leaders alike have noticed about the entire crop of offensive rookies that are making an almost daily impact in training camp.

The offensive newcomers have gotten a lot of extra opportunities to display their talents during the second week of training camp. The attention to detail and willingness to do the little things is often a product of a team leader like Harris setting the example.

Steelers Warren

Abigail Dean / Pittsburgh Steelers

Warren, who despite his stature, is known as a physical, between the tackles running back. He does not have elite speed, but he plays fast and is rarely caught from behind. One of his biggest weaknesses going into the NFL Draft was the perception of his pass protection. Based on his camp performance to date, he has worked hard to correct the possible flaw in his game. His desire for competition and contact is impressing the coaching staff, onlookers and his teammates.


Recapping Steelers Big Winners And Losers From 2022 Training Camp So Far


A smaller version of the punishment that Harris delivers could be a huge asset for a team returning to its roots as a run-oriented offense. It will not allow defenses to key on a scat back when Harris gets a break, and it should discourage them from blitzing if he proves that the training camp performance is indicative of his game day play. Warren as undrafted free agent has been turning heads on the field and if he has adopted Harris as his mentor in the film room, the sky is the limit.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, August 20 and some of the questions on offense are going to be answered. Harris is unlikely to play against the Seahawks based on his current injury status and it will be interesting to see how the running back rotation is set for this game. Warren should get a long look as the featured back during the game, while rotating with incumbents Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland.

Watch Harris’ full clip on his thoughts about Warren here:

 

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Are you excited to see if all the buzz is true about this crop of talented rookies? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.

I have been rooting for the Steelers actively since 1975. I love the Black and Gold and support them through thick and thin. I am a Navy Veteran, living in Jacksonville, FL and never miss a chance to go to the neutral site games here in Jacksonville. I am new to the Steeler Nation website, but I love discussing Steelers Past, Present and Future.

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