In this year’s NFL draft, the Jets selected former Pitt offensive tackle Carter Warren in the fourth round. Today, we break down Warren in detail.
The 24-year old Warren is listed at 6’5” and 323 pounds and was a second-team all-ACC selection last season. He started 39 games in his career with the Panthers.
Warren was a local product who was ranked as a three-star high school recruit. He headed to Pittsburgh but redshirted his first season in 2017 and didn’t see action in 2018 either.
In 2019, he moved into the starting line-up and started all 13 games, then played in nine of 11 games in 2020, starting eight. He then started all 14 games in 2021, earning all-ACC second team honors.
In 2022, he started the season well but then suffered a season-ending injury in the fourth game of the year. He opted to turn down an invitation to the senior bowl and was unable to work out at the scouting combine or his pro day.
The Jets selected Warren in the fourth round with the 120th overall pick and he reportedly signed his rookie deal on Wednesday.
Now let’s take a look at what Warren brings to the table, divided into categories.
Warren has excellent size and length, although his hands are small. He actually only weighed in at 311 pounds at the combine, despite being listed at 323 by the Jets.
Since Warren was unable to work out during the pre-draft process, we don’t have any workout numbers for him, but he is regarded as a good athlete. Joe Douglas said that he was at the top of their list of players with a “freak factor”, specifically referring to “The size, the speed, the length, the jump - just everything.”
This athletic ability shows up at times in his film, but not always. He does seem to move and change direction well with a quick first step though.
Warren only played left tackle for the Panthers. However, they are a team that regularly (often 20-30 percent of the time) operates out of unbalanced lines which would see Warren kick over to the right side so he has plenty of experience with the footwork requirements of playing at right tackle and should be more than comfortable to move there.
These packages would also mean he has plenty of experience of lining up next to another tackle, which would stand him in good stead if he gets reps as a jumbo package tight end.
Warren has a good pass blocking foundation and has had good success at limiting pressure over the course of his college career. He gave up nine sacks in his career, though, with five of these in 2021.
He drops back into his stance well, shows an ability to move his feet to mirror rushers coming off the edge, uses his length as an asset and can step across to repel inside counters. These are all the basic attributes you need to hold your own when blocking on an island.
His main weakness is that his balance can let him down when he’s trying to stay in front of his man coming around the edge or when anchoring against a bull rush.
Although he displays some rawness as a pass blocker, Warren is further along in that discipline than he is as a run blocker. He shows positive signs from time to time but has been somewhat inconsistent within that role and doesn’t display much in the way of dominance. Here’s an example of what he can do, though:
While he doesn’t allow much in the way of penetration, it’s rare that you’ll see Warren gain much traction in his drive phase, other than when he’s blocking down on an unsuspecting lineman. Even when he does engage a block at the point of attack or having climbed to the second level, he’ll often struggle to stay on it.
His first step is good enough to get to his man’s shoulder on a reach block to slow him up, but he’s rarely able to work all the way across to seal him off completely. He is strong enough to set a good edge when he has leverage, though.
Warren didn’t do much trapping and pulling, being more effective at blocking down to seal his man off in pin-and-pull scenarios.
Even in short yardage situations, Warren isn’t particularly a guy you would run behind and expect to get a surge. He did well on this read option play, though.
As was the case with Joe Tippmann, Warren finds himself on a team that wasn’t able to make much good use of his athletic abilities in the screen game. When Pitt did run a screen pass, their tackles would typically stay in to pass protect and the interior linemen would lead the way upfield.
There are a lot of areas where Warren needs some technical tweaks to improve his effectiveness. As noted earlier, his balance can be an issue because he is often too upright in pass protection and in space. He should be able to widen his base and bend his knees more if they focus on working at this.
Warren makes excellent use of his length in pass protection, timing his punches well to buy himself time to react to counters.
His footwork is pretty good, although he can take choppy steps at times, and he shows some promise in terms of his hand fighting techniques.
Warren’s hand placement can be inconsistent though, which can lead to him losing leverage in certain situations.
Warren had 16 penalties in his college career, including nine in 2021. At one stage in the middle of that season, he had seven penalties in a four-game span, including three false starts in the same game.
Over the past two years, Warren has false-started eight times and been called three times for holding.
On special teams, Warren has mostly contributed as a blocker on the placekicking unit with no mistakes or penalties. He didn’t do this in 2022 though. He has also played a few snaps blocking on the punt coverage unit and on the field goal defense.
Pat Narduzzi, Warren’s head coach at Pitt, praised Warren for his sharp instincts on numerous occasions. Other than the false starts, he didn’t seem to make many mental errors. On-field smarts are apparently one of the main things the Jets love about Max Mitchell, so they are perhaps targeting a similar prospect in the middle rounds this time around.
He seems to deal well with stunts and games, including in the Clemson games in 2021 and 2022 where they ran them repeatedly.
Here’s a rare example of Warren failing to anticipate and react to a blitz coming off the edge, though.
Warren is a high-character guy who was widely respected and praised for his loyalty after deciding to return for the 2022 season. He was regarded as a leader at Pitt and named as a team captain. He also did plenty of giving back to the community in college.
One nitpick from watching a lot of his film is that he doesn’t consistently finish well and won’t always play to the whistle. These seems to be a bad habit more than a technical issue, but there were countless plays where he was walking around while a play was still going on and lots of examples of him losing control of his block and making no apparent effort to battle back into the play.
He does show some aggressiveness and nastiness on this play, which is the sort of thing you’d ideally like to see more of from him.
Warren’s 2022 season ended prematurely due to a meniscus tear, which also prevented him from working out at the combine. However, he has recently said he is fully recovered.
Since becoming a starter, the only other two games Warren missed were both in 2020 due to Covid-19 protocols.
Pitt operated out of an offensive system which mostly used zone blocking concepts in the running game but did have some man/gap/power concepts, so transitioning to a pro scheme shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for him.
As noted, he has played plenty of reps on the right side, which is important with right tackle most likely to be his position if he gets to see action in 2023 or 2024.
He was a teammate of fellow Jets rookies Israel Abanikanda and Deslin Alexandre while at Pitt.
The Jets were never going to get a day one starting tackle after the first day of the draft but will hope that they’ve picked up a future contributor on day three.
Warren’s measurables and football IQ give him a good foundation to develop but he is raw in places and will need some seasoning in terms of his technique.
On the basis of his film, you would think that Warren is at least a year away from contributing but then again you probably would have said the same thing about Mitchell last year and he did a decent job when called upon. Warren has plenty of things to work on though.