Pittsburgh OT Carter Warren received some hype last season as Kenny Pickett’s blindside protector. However, he returned to school to improve his stock in a seemingly weaker class. How does Warren’s 2023 NFL Draft scouting report compare to the top prospects at the position, and when should he hear his name called next April?
Carter Warren NFL draft profile
One of New Jersey’s most decorated high school offensive linemen, Warren garnered first-team All-State honors at Passaic Tech and was a highly sought-after recruit.
With a three-star rating from the 247Sports Composite and already standing 6’6″ and 310 pounds as a senior, Warren had no shortage of suitors. But in the end, it came down to Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, and Virginia Tech.
Well, that was at least until Pittsburgh ultimately won his signature. Passaic Tech head coach Matt Demarest said, “He had a great visit last time he was there, and I think the one thing that was the seller was that he felt comfortable with the other players. That was big for him. All the other environments were tremendous, but his relationship with their players was big.”
Fast forward five years and Warren has 39 starts, a second-team All-ACC selection (2021), and a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice under his belt.
This summer, Warren used his NIL rights to host “Carter’s Creations Initiative” at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, where he used to walk the halls as a kid. But make no mistake, while Warren is a kind-hearted individual off the field, he’s a tone-setter on it.
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Pittsburgh
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’5″, 325 pounds
Carter Warren scouting report
Warren has the experience and physical traits scouts look for along the offensive line. Yet, his age (he’ll be 24 as a rookie) and lack of refinement could hold him back from an early-round selection.
Where Warren wins
It doesn’t take long to find No. 77 when watching Pitt’s offense. The 6’6″ and 325-pound OT has excellent length (over 35″ arms) and moves like a smaller man. Warren’s nimble moving vertically and horizontally, with the foot speed to mirror quicker pass rushers. Additionally, his naturally wide base sets up his upper body for success, squaring up potential threats.
Warren’s impressive kick slide allows him to set the edge quickly. Paired with a powerful initial punch, pass rushers struggle to create pressure in a timely manner. It’s not often needed, but Warren has flashed the ability to reset his hands after getting out-leveraged to regain position. There are few instances on tape where he bends at the waist or gets walked back to the QB.
That’s thanks in part to Warren’s noticeable coordination in pass protection. He’s quick off the snap, consistently reaches his set points, and doesn’t open the gate inside or out before contact.
Furthermore, his grip and core strength aid a tremendous anchor. Warren’s vast experience on an island in Pitt’s system is apparent in his firm inside shoulder and power step to counter inside moves.
Against rushers who prefer to work outside, Warren has the foot speed and length to extend the pocket and force defenders around the arc. His proper weight distribution helps his effort, as he rarely allows lunges off balance, even when beat originally.
With fluid hips, Warren faces little resistance when changing directions and moving along the line. He’s an effective puller and can reach and down block with the ability to hinge, pivot, and slide his feet. As a run blocker, the Pitt OT can sink his hips and use leg drive to take defenders off the line.
And with his athleticism, Warren doesn’t look out of place in space, climbing to the second level with ease. If he gets his hands inside EDGEs, he has the power to steer them against their will.
Warren’s areas for improvement
Although Warren’s profile is full of positives, there are quite a few negatives to note, chief of which is his run blocking. The Pitt OT’s tape as a pass and run blocker is night and day. His understanding of angles leaves him out of place at times near the line of scrimmage and working at the second level. But more troubling is the Pitt OT’s overall disposition.
He’s far from a mauler, seldom putting the opposition in the dirt. Building on his core and lower body strength will help, but it’s not just a power problem. Warren simply doesn’t have the “see target, destroy target” mentality. Although not necessary to keep his QB clean and creates holes on the ground, it’s an intangible trait that offensive line coaches covet.
Warren will also bend at the waist, duck his head into engagement, and play with his weight over his toes, allowing defenders to wrench him off platform. It’s a starch difference to his balance as a pass blocker, but he isn’t perfect there, either.
As a 6’6″ tackle, leverage will always be a concern against shorter EDGEs. However, Warren doesn’t help himself at times, getting too tall after the snap, exposing his chest for defenders to get their hands on. He’s prone to stopping his feet after contact, giving opponents a window to generate second-effort pressure.
While Warren has showcased stymying grip strength and the ability to reset his hands, he occasionally doubles down on his first-hand placement. This has led to some holding penalties and defenders displacing his hands and freeing themselves from blocks. Similarly, if he doesn’t grasp speed rushers, they are able to counter across his face.
Technique-wise, Warren is usually clean but has some wasted motion. He often has false steps into his set and will miss some strikes wide, forcing a hand onto the opponent’s shoulder. His awareness and decision-making when facing multiple defenders also need some work, as the Pitt OT can be late to react and completely ignore obvious threats.
Lastly, it’s not difficult to decipher whether the Panthers are running an RPO/run/play-action or pass based on Warren’s stance. Although that’s a true statement for many tackles, the Pitt OT stands distinctly taller than his teammates, presumably to kick step into his set quicker.
Current draft projection for Pitt OT Carter Warren
Warren has Day 2 tools with Day 3 run-blocking technique and overall temperament. His short-area explosiveness, burst off the snap, and sheer frame will have teams diving deeper into his tape. But when they do, they will see a player who needs some work.
That said, Warren has the skill set you bank on progressing. His experience in true pass sets is unrivaled and worthy of late Day 2/early Day 3 consideration. Warren has starter potential at either tackle position. And in an unsettled OT class, he could be one of the first five selected on draft day.