It's tough to make an impact as an undrafted rookie. Job 1 is to simply make an NFL roster after not being one of 250ish players drafted by 32 teams. Job 2 is to climb the depth chart. That's what Jaylen Warren is trying to do in Pittsburgh.

On Warren's behalf, the depth chart behind Najee Harris in Pittsburgh is unremarkable, to be kind. Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland; I think the world has seen about enough of those guys to know they're not going to step into the lineup and start cranking out numbers.

The other plus for Warren is that he's a running back. Players at the position get hurt a lot, and it's a lot more common for undrafted guys to make an impact.

I showed the top performers among undrafted rookie wideouts this century a few days ago. There weren't many, and there wasn't a top-40 performer in the bunch. But there are a lot more example of running backs who have put up significant numbers.

In the last five years alone, two undrafted rookies have rushed for over 1,000 yards, scored 10 TDs, and finished as top-15 fantasy backs (PPR). That includes James Robinson, who had the remarkable 2020 season for Jacksonville. Since 2000, 13 have at least ranked in the top 40 at the position. Seems to be a better than average chance that one undrafted rookie running back will merit rostering in typical leagues, and emerging as a starter at some point.

2020James Robinson, Jac.1424010704.549344107
2001Dominic Rhodes, Ind.1523311044.7342241012
2018Phillip Lindsay, Den.1519210375.4352411013
2014Branden Oliver, S.D.141605823.636271426
2006Mike Bell, Den.151576774.320158831
2014Isaiah Crowell, Cle.161486074.1987833
2010LeGarrette Blount, T.B.1320110075.0514634
2007Selvin Young, Den.151407295.235231134
2015Thomas Rawls, Sea.131478305.7976537
2005Samkon Gado, G.B.81435824.11077737
2016Robert Kelley, Was.151687044.21282738
2010Keiland Williams, Was.15652614.039309539
2002Kenny Watson, Was.161165344.632253239
2016Jalen Richard, Oak.16834915.929194342
2017Austin Ekeler, LAC16472605.527279544
2017Matt Breida, S.F.161054654.421180347
2010Chris Ivory, N.O.121377165.2117547
2017Corey Clement, Phil.16743214.310123651
2012Shaun Draughn, K.C.16592334.024158255
2007Pierre Thomas, N.O.12522524.917151357
2019Patrick Laird, Mia.15621682.723204164
2013Fozzy Whittaker, 2TM1428792.821155267
2008BenJarvus Green-Ellis, N.E.9742753.7337567
2009Arian Foster, Hou.6542574.8893372
2013Benny Cunningham, St.L.14472615.6659174
2014Damien Williams, Mia.16361223.421187175
2012Brandon Bolden, N.E.10562744.9211278
2016Kenneth Farrow, S.D.13601923.21370081
2008Mike Tolbert, S.D.1313372.913171183
2016Peyton Barber, T.B.15552234.1528184
2016Josh Ferguson, Ind.1615201.320136086
2012Will Johnson, Pitt.16273.515137190
2017Tion Green, Det.5421653.9214291
2001Nick Goings, Car.13661973.0839091
2019Reggie Bonnafon, Car.16161167.3657194
2013Khiry Robinson, N.O.10542244.200194
2019Andrew Beck, Den.16133.0990196
2015Terron Ward, Atl.1329953.3973197
2007LeRon McClain, Balt.168182.3955199
2019Alec Ingold, Oak.1610171.76441100

Warren's not the only undrafted back to generate some interest. Abram Smith in New Orleans is another possibility (although losing a fumble in the preseason opener won't help his chances). There might still be another player to come out of the woodwork.

But Warren is the favorite these days, and was reportedly getting some first-team work at camp this week. Guy we'll be watching this weekend.

--Andy Richardson