From his legendary exploits as a MVP for the Marbury Bulldogs in the sleepy Alabama town of Prattville in Autauga County, to the practice field at Training Camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia — Saints UDFA safety Pierre Warren has always managed to capture everyone’s attention when he is engaged in competition. It’s that ability to perform at the highest level that Warren seems to thrive at, that has allowed him to emerge as the unquestioned surprise of Training Camp thus far for the Saints as they enter into the second week of practices at Greenbrier.
As is the case seemingly every year, Warren has “exploded” on to the scene, easily becoming the biggest surprise a week into Training Camp so far. He follows in a long line of previous Saints Training Camp surprise UDFA performers that include Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Joe Morgan, and last year’s favorite, RB Khiry Robinson of West Texas A&M. The most impressive part of it all has been what seemingly is an incredible “nose” for the football. He is potentially a dynamic play-maker, and no doubt can be yet another huge steal (and “small school gem”) for GM Mickey Loomis and the Saints scouting department led by Ryan Pace and Rick Reprish.
The 6’2, 200 lb. Warren has been EVERYWHERE so far — blanketing receivers, batting aways passes, forcing fumbles, and making diving interceptions. It’s the same style of play that Warren has made a name for himself with, as a basketball and football living legend back in Prattville (Warren is a cult hero in Prattville, know for his incredible dunking ability that made him the hit of several YouTube videos), where he was an All-Metro and All-Area selection as a 4-year letterman in both sports.
Warren was also a defensive “play-maker” last year as a junior for the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State (a school of approximately 8700 students about an hour notheast of Birmingham, AL.) of the Ohio Valley Conference. Warren starred at safety for Jacksonville State, which went to the FCS quarterfinals last season. He earned that reputation as a ball-hawking safety that included 5 interceptions (with a “Pick-Six”), 17 passes defended, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick on special teams.
Warren is in a heated battle for one of the back-up safety spots along with Canadian Football League transplant Marcus Ball and fellow undrafted rookie Ty Zimmerman of Kansas State. Saints head coach Sean Payton has taken notice of Warren’s standout performance thus far, but has remained non-committal on Warren’s chances on making the squad; going only so far yesterday in his press conference to say that players such as Warren will have to make their mark on special teams.
Making his mark hasn’t been a problem thus far for the undaunted and fearless rookie, and I ll go so far as to say that you SHOULDN’T be just completely stunned if he ends up on the final 53-man roster come the first week of September. There’s absolutely no question that he is the biggest surprise of this Training Camp thus far. He looks to be able to provide the Saints with a capable back-up at free safety should anything ever happen (God forbid) to Saints All-Pro safety Jairus Byrd; and his mere presence alone as a play-maker could someday be a “slam dunk”, for the Saints’ defense.