The debate on whether or not Jaylen Warren is the best back in Pittsburgh is over in our opinion. We now have to consider him among the elite backs in the league. You won’t find Warren in the overall raw stat leaders like rushing yards. This is due to his lack of usage by the Steelers. The sharing of carries with Najee Harris is clearly hurting the overall numbers. Dig deeper though, and you will find his numbers per game/attempt stand up to the best in football. Let’s take a deeper look at what is becoming one of the most impactful running backs in the league in Jaylen Warren:
Warren vs Harris:
It has become increasingly clear that Jaylen Warren is better overall back than Najee Harris in every facet of the position. To this point, Najee Harris leads the team in rushing attempts and overall touches in 2023. He also leads the team in rushing yards with 464. That’s where Harris’ statistical advantage ends however.
Because of the disparity in carries (45), we need to look at per attempt averages. This is where the the difference between the two really shows. First off, yards per carry is a huge advantage for Warren. He sits with at a gaudy 5.1, compared to 4.0 for Harris. In 32 less total touches, Warren leads in overall yards 582 to 579. That factors in to a yards per tough advantage of 5.7 to 4.3. Simply put, Jaylen Warren is by far the most productive back in Pittsburgh.
Warren vs the league:
Comparing Jaylen Warren to the rest of the league is difficult due to his overall lack of usage. But again when looking at per attempt averages he stands with the best in the business. His 5.1 yards per carry is good for 4th in the league for running backs. That’s better than Christian McCaffrey, Bijan Robinson, and Derrick Henry to name a few. He is 5th in the NFL in 10 plus yard rushes, with significantly less carries than players in front of him.
Digging deeper into some advanced stats makes the picture even clearer. Warren has 27 missed forced tackles, good for 7th in the league. (Again consider the far less carries). He is currently 11th in the NFL in yards after contact per attempt. Jaylen Warren also leads the NFL in average of 1o plus yard gains per game. https://www.fantasypros.com/nfl/advanced-stats-rb.php?view=pergame
The only thing holding Jaylen Warren back at this point is the Pittsburgh Steelers. This team’s insistence on giving Najee Harris more attempts may be in an attempt to justify his being taken in the first round. Najee Harris may be good, but he should not have been the Steelers first round pick.
For now the two will continue to share the running back duties for this franchise. Next season we just might see the full potential of Jaylen Warren. If he were to ever get the full work load, we could be talking about one of the elite running backs in the NFL.