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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB Jaret Patterson

  • The Draft Network
  • December 30, 2020
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Jaret Patterson is a do-it-all running back that capped off a historic career in 2020. Compact build, but often high runner when in the clear, he displays plenty of variance with his running style and can change up depending on the matchup. Patterson is highly effective in between the tackle and in tight spaces, where he’s shown to be capable of maneuvering his way through multiple levels of trash in order to come out clean. He plays with caution when it comes to ball security and often keeps the ball high and tight. One of his best attributes is his lower half and footwork. They always remain hot, active, and ready. Combined with his sufficient contact balance, he’s able to create extra opportunities that weren’t originally present because of his strong frame overall. An easy hands-catcher out of the backfield, he can frequently become involved in the passing game. While racking up lots of yardage, Patterson doesn’t have a lot of gears to his speed package. His ability to create hidden yardage enables him to take advantage of yardage that’s there, and as a result, he’s able to outrace defenders soon afterward—but there aren’t considerable amounts of separation created. Patterson is more of a build-up runner than an instant accelerator who can run away from the opposition.

Ideal Role: No. 2 RB in a committee.

Scheme Fit: Versatile.


Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Kent State (2020), Miami-OH (2020), Northern Illinois (2020), Bowling Green (2020), Akron (2020)

Best Game Studied: Kent State (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Miami-OH (2020)

Vision: On the surface, Patterson has the vision necessary to stay on track to finish runs. He also has the ability to exploit cut-back lanes or other avenues that weren’t originally present to him, but moments after the snap, he can accelerate through those openings. Patterson doesn’t waste time with pitty patting behind the line, as he’s a decisive runner that always has a plan when rushing. 

Footwork: Low center of gravity combined with active feet, he stays patient while also being adamant about keeping runs on course. An offense that remained versatile without revealing many of their tendencies, Patterson’s patience in all types of designs remained the same. Quiet feet and the ability to accelerate through the first level enabled him to experience high levels of success.  

Contact Balance: Well above average, as he has the body armor to absorb and shake off tacklers, but his body also allows him to accelerate through arm-tackle attempts on all levels. A unique blend of strength and being able to maintain a low pad level has helped him rack up yards after first contact. Patterson makes it essential for defenders to wrap up and bring him down, but his traits make it difficult for defenders to bring him down cleanly. 

Durability: Battled a right leg injury throughout parts of the season, but his production didn’t suffer as a result. Patterson has withstood high volume games and remained productive throughout them. Suffering no major injuries to date, Patterson welcomed the tasks of shouldering the load as his team continued to feed the offense through him in all types of situations. 

Explosiveness: Patterson is mostly a one-gear runner that doesn’t have much acceleration in the open field. Able to outrace defenders in the MAC, his lack of straight-line speed may be more evident at the next level. Despite his average speed, he’s able to generate explosive plays throughout games. 

Versatility: Because of his dependency as a runner, Patterson was rarely ever able to display what he could provide as a pass-catcher. Showing periods of comfort when the ball did come his way, he may be an example of a prospect that blooms once more involved in an NFL team's passing attack. Having the athleticism required to line up in various spots, a team at the next level could see him as an expanded weapon.

Elusiveness: The former Buffalo rusher has consistently shown that he has the change of direction skills to leave defenders grabbing nothing. A low to the ground body frame helps when experiencing tight spaces, as he has high-quality short-area quickness. Being able to move in all directions as a runner no matter the operating speed is a large reason why his contact balance has been well above average throughout his career.

Ball Security: After recording four fumbles during his freshman season, Patterson has steadily improved his ability to hang onto the ball. Only recording two fumbles over the past two seasons, he’s shored up his ability to protect the ball.

Passing Down Skills: Because of Patterson being the focal point of the team's rushing attack, he’s rarely ever been able to show what he’s capable of as a pass-catcher. Adding him as a pass-game threat could be an underrated aspect of his draft portfolio, as he’s a rusher that may be capable of more than what he’s shown through his career. 

Discipline: Patterson has a bit of an outlandish running style where he attempts to generate explosive plays every time that he touches the ball. His contact balance and ability to fend off tacklers are a major reason why he’s been able to break initial tackles. Patterson will need to learn that every play doesn’t have to be a heroic effort that results in a huge score.

Prospect Comparison: Devonta Freeman (2014 NFL Draft, Atlanta Falcons)


TDN Consensus: 68.75/100

Joe Marino: 69.00/100

Kyle Crabbs: 67.00/100

Jordan Reid: 71.00/100

Drae Harris: 68.00/100

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