Prospect Profile: RB Jaret Patterson
Jake Pittman - 3/6/2021
Prospect Profile: RB Jaret Patterson
Jaret Patterson is a 5’9" 195-pound running back from Buffalo University. Patterson had a productive career at Buffalo, but he certainly wasn’t on a ton of analyst’s radars until last season. Patterson started the season off strong, but when Buffalo matched up against Kent State, Patterson turned it up to another level. Patterson rushed for a record breaking 409 yards and 8 TDs in that game alone. This performance put him on the radar of every team in the league. Patterson still has some concerns coming from a smaller school, but his continuous dominant performances make him an intriguing prospect to monitor for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Despite his flashy statistics, Patterson is not a particularly flashy player. He has good vision, balance, and agility. He sees what has been blocked for him, and will usually make the most of the holes that are made in front of him. He has a stocky frame and a low center of gravity, this will often times make it very difficult for defenders to bring him down or drive him backwards. At the point of attack, Patterson keeps his legs churning for extra yards and knows what it takes to slide through tight spaces to win in short yardage situations. His agility and vision makes him into a pretty shifty player. He can win with juke moves, stiff arms and spin moves consistently. He’s not afraid to lower his shoulders and take on contact either.
Patterson does have some concerns when playing at the next level. The speed of play is drastically slower against teams in the MAC Conference compared to the NFL. Even when he was running away from defenders, he has incredibly short strides and does not look to be very fast at all. The concern that he won’t be fast or strong enough to beat NFL defenders is a huge question mark for him. Running backs from smaller schools almost always deal with this problem. For some players, the concerns fade away fairly quickly, but for others, the transition to the NFL speed of play never really happens.
The one thing that NFL scouts look for when scouting small school players is absolute domination. They don’t want to look for guys who make a couple splash plays every once in a while. They are looking for guys who consistently dominate their lesser opponents. Patterson has shown a huge amount of statistical domination against lesser opponents. While he breaks off huge plays and runs for a ridiculous amount of yardage against these slower opponents, I think what this shows is that in the NFL he will earn exactly what is blocked for him, and can even tack on a few extra yards at the end of plays. Running backs that can do this often times find themselves playing in the league for quite a long time compared to other runners.
Last offseason while interning for the New Orleans Saints, I absolutely fell in love with a player. He was a small school running back from Illinois State. His name is RB James Robinson. Robinson, who is now the starting RB for the Jacksonville Jaguars, came from a similar situation as Patterson. They both came from smaller universities, and they both absolutely dominated their competition. Now while I liked Robinson’s tape a lot more than Patterson’s, they show a lot of the same abilities. Neither of them are fast for an NFL Running back, but they both have outstanding vision, balance, and power for running backs of stockier builds. I think that what made Robinson such a successful runner his rookie season was his ability to read holes and get exactly what was needed out of him, plus a couple more after churning his legs through smaller players in the secondary. Patterson could follow a similar model. I do imagine that unlike Robinson, Patterson will be drafted in this year’s draft. This should give him an even better chance to compete for playing time on whatever team selects him.
Most Likely Landing Spots:
Los Angeles Chargers:
RB Austin Ekeler is an outstanding player as I have mentioned in previous reports, but he just doesn’t have the frame to carry the ball every down. Patterson could offer an excellent option for the Charger’s on non-passing downs and short yardage plays. He is a smart player who can get low and power through the line to get tougher yards. He also has excellent vision. He won’t make stupid mistakes and end up losing yardage, when easy yards are readily available. This will make him a very safe secondary option. If Patterson were to land with the Chargers, he would be a solid handcuff for Ekeler. He would also have the opportunity to score multiple TDs on any given week if he earns the short-yardage role.
RB Chris Carson is going to be the Seahawks feature back for as long as he is on the roster and healthy. I believe in his abilities, and I think the coaching staff does to. Even so, there is a player in the running back room that I think the coaching staff is worried about, RB Rashaad Penny. Penny was drafted in the first round of the draft only a couple years ago, but injuries and inefficiencies have slowed his progress in the league. If the Seahawk’s coaching staff does decide that Penny may not be the long-term answer, Patterson could be a smart, reliable secondary option for the team. If Patterson were to land in Seattle, he would be nothing more than a handcuff for Carson his rookie year. However, in dynasty he would certainly be an interesting player to stash and wait for Carson’s time in Seattle to end.
San Francisco 49ers:
The 49ers have a really good running back room. The most impressive of them being the speedster, Raheem Mostert. Mostert has proven to be a budding superstar in this league, and doesn’t look like he’s going to give up the starting role any time soon. The problem the 49ers have faced is a large slew of injuries to their runners. Last season alone, the 49ers gave significant snaps to all of these RBs: Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, JerickMckinnon, Jeff Wilson Jr. and even UDFA JaMychal Hasty. The 49ers more than likely aren’t going to bring back all of these players, and a consistent and reliable player like Jaret Patterson may be who they want to bring in to replace some of these guys. If Paterson were to land in San Francisco, he would more than likely just be a handcuff. But with the 49ers continued injury problems, he could be one of the more valuable handcuffs in fantasy football.
Jaret Patterson put on a performance last year like no one had ever seen. Still thinking about someone scoring 8 TDs in one game sounds crazy to me. Still, while he has shown to be able to dominate at a lower level of competition, the concerns that his game speed won’t be able to translate to the next level remains. However, he does have a safe floor since he displays good vision, balance and agility. I project that Patterson will be selected on late Day 2 or Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft, and while he will be an interesting player to stash in dynasty leagues, he doesn’t project to make a huge impact during his rookie season barring any unforeseen developments.
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