The Heroes and Villains of the Steelers' Season: 5 players saving the day, 5 causing mayhem

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers fourth best-performing player: Jaylen Warren

Jaylen Warren has been one of the better success stories for this team in recent years. Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Warren wasn’t even viewed as the top undrafted back on this team at first. He took advantage of his opportunities though and quickly ascended into a role as the primary backup for this team.

Entering year two, the expectation was for him to continue in that role as a compliment to Najee Harris. Not only has he done that, but has arguably played better. While Harris is still the conventional starter, Warren has become a key component of this offense during any given week.

To be fair, neither running back has been incredible on the ground. Defenses are preparing to stop the run any given week as the Steelers weakness lies in relying on its passing game. Harris has failed to produce like the top back many expected him to and Warren has been average on the ground as well.

The reason I gave the nod to Warren though is due to his ability to make a big play. While not a speed threat on the ground, Warren hits the hole hard and takes what he is given. As a receiver, he uses his bowling ball stature to punish secondary members and pick up extra yards. When he is on the field, the offense is more dynamic.

That isn’t to say that Harris has been bad, he hasn’t, but he also hasn’t lived up to the expectations that many had for him this season. Warren gives this team more options and chunk plays which is greatly needed considering how poor the offense has been. The running backs haven’t been as dominant as many hoped they would be, but Warren continues to prove his worth for this offense.