Yes, Jaylen Warren absolutely deserves more snaps for the Steelers

  • The Steelers would be wise to give more snaps to Jaylen Warren
  • All about having a true committee at running back
  • Both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren can work well in tandem together

Pittsburgh Steelers, Jaylen Warren
Pittsburgh Steelers, Jaylen Warren / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

It was apparent very early on in his rookie camp that the Steelers had something in Jaylen Warren. He entered camp as a distant afterthought, even among his fellow undrafted peers as Mateo Durant got most of the hype early on. That didn’t stop Warren from shining in camp and during the preseason.

That success continued into his first season, as he quickly became the primary third-down back due to his blocking and receiving ability. He has continued to do everything right this offseason, cementing himself as the top backup in this system. That said, there is the potential for him to be so much more.

As displayed in this preseason, Warren is a different style of back from what this team has usually employed. While not overly fast, he changes direction quickly and has some impressive burst. He isn’t an indecisive runner; Warren sees the hole and hits it hard. Add in his receiving and blocking ability and you have a strong offensive weapon.

The Steelers would be wise to give more snaps to Warren

After his Buffalo performance, where Warren burst off a 62-yard touchdown score, there has been some debate as to who should be the primary back for the Steelers. Currently employed in that role is Najee Harris, who is likely set up to have his best season as a professional. The former first-round pick has had a lackluster start to his career.

While the base stats look ok, Harris has proven to be inefficient with the ball in his hands. No, he was never going to be a big play threat coming out of school. He is a grinding player that churns out yards consistently. The issue has been, that consistency has been missing and Harris is nothing more than a plodder.

Even if he takes the expected steps this offseason, Warren has earned more work. While Harris can be the conventional power back, Warren offers more in terms of what he can do after the ball is in his hands. It is two different styles and two that can work well together.

Steelers can have a true committee

This offense seems poised to be a run-heavy scheme, so there should be plenty of snaps to go around. Harris can take on the brunt of the heavy lifting and between-the-tackles work while Warren provides a change-of-pace option. Warren getting more snaps doesn’t mean Harris is without work in this offense.

There is a real opportunity for Harris and Warren to work well together. The team began using some two-back looks last year and appears set to continue that. When this offense is up and needs to grind down a defense, Harris can continue to plod, albeit more effectively, and run down the clock. In situations where the team needs some big plays and is uptempo, Warren makes far more sense.

I will openly say this, and for those that know my stance on first-round running backs this will come as no surprise, Warren is further proof of how you should find running backs. Effective runners can be found later in the draft, and using high draft picks on them rarely is the right move.

People are quick to defend Harris because of the investment and the idea he represents. That was evident as fans flocked to not only say Harris is the better player, but that Warren isn’t even that good. Harris has an adamant fanbase that won’t be appeased until he is viewed as the top back in the league, something he obviously isn’t.

To me, this isn’t a question of who should start and who should sit. Both Harris and Warren can work well in tandem together, and the Steelers would be fools to not benefit from that. This team can and needs to use both backs effectively, and Warren has earned the right to see more snaps for this offense.