Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson may be an underrated commodity heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, but anyone who is still sleeping on him obviously hasn’t paid attention to the massive numbers that he’s been putting up over the years.
After putting up impressive stats as a freshman in 2018, Patterson continued to eviscerate opposing defenses in 2019 by having the greatest season by a running back in Buffalo’s history by rushing for 1,799 yards and an astounding 19 rushing touchdowns.
Perhaps even more impressive was his ability to match his touchdown total (19) from the 2019 season in 2020, despite only playing in six games due to the impact that COVID-19 had on Buffalo’s season.
One of the top rushers available in this year’s class, Patterson recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about rewriting Buffalo’s record books, what he loves about playing the running back position, and what it was like being in the zone against Kent State back in November.
JM: You had an unbelievable season in 2019 when you ran for 1,799 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Both of those were single-season records at The University of Buffalo. You come back in 2020 and you have another 1,000-yard season and 19 more rushing touchdowns despite only playing in six games. It’s almost unheard of. You’re one of the most prolific players in Buffalo history. How do you look back on your time there?
JP: My time in Buffalo was amazing, to say the least. I quickly became an impact player there. From the moment I stepped onto campus, my mindset was that I wanted to contribute right away. That was my attitude.
I didn’t know that I would make such a big impact on that program. Nobody can ever take that away from me. I truly believe that I impacted that program in several ways, both on and off the field.
JM: You absolutely did that. What do you think it is about your game that allows you to find the end zone so often?
JP: I’m a student of the game. I watch a lot of film. My running abilities, I always keep a low center of gravity. I have great contact balance. I pick up yards after contact. I make guys miss in the open field. I feel like those are the things that have made me the player that I am today.
JM: The Kent State game this past season, that was ridiculous. You ran for more than 400 yards and eight touchdowns in a single game. It’s unheard of. What was it like being in the zone during that game?
JP: That game meant a lot to me. We were both undefeated. We knew that Kent State had a high-scoring offense. We knew we needed to put up a bunch of points in order to keep up with them on offense. I wanted to win that game so badly. They beat us on a last-minute play in 2019. We felt like we owed them one (laughs).
That was definitely a historic moment for me, the MAC conference, and for the program.
JM: It certainly was. What’s your favorite part of playing the running back position?
JP: I love everything about it. I enjoy contributing in the passing game. Of course, I love the rushing aspect of it. I’m passionate about playing the position. Scoring touchdowns is a lot of fun.
I love when the defense knows a running play is coming and they still can’t stop it. I enjoy wearing down a defense throughout the course of a game. That’s the best part about it.
JM: Prospects have begun the process of meeting with NFL teams virtually. Have you met with any teams so far?
JP: I’ve met with several teams so far. I met with the Patriots, Titans, Bills, Chiefs, Jets, and Chargers so far. I have a few more coming up soon.
It’s a blessing. Teams are reaching out to me and showing interest. My talents are being recognized. I’m trying to prove to them that I’m one of the top running backs in this class. I’m listening to what they want to see from me going forward. I’m always trying to get better. It’s been a promising process for me so far. I’m excited about it.
JM: We love to see so much interest in you. If you could take a handoff from one NFL quarterback, who would it be and why?
JP: I think I’d have to say Tom Brady, right? He’s an iconic player. His resume speaks for itself. It would be an honor to take a handoff from somebody like him.
JM: If anybody is going to knock you throughout this process, you already know what they’re going to say. They’ll say you played in the MAC, Buffalo is a small school, he’s undersized. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. How do you typically respond to those criticisms?
JP: With the undersized part, I’m not sure you can even say something like that anymore. We’ve seen so many running backs be successful at my size. Guys like Darren Sproles, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Barry Sanders come to mind. You can’t really throw out the “undersized” term anymore.
There was a running back that got drafted in the first round last year that’s the same height as me. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and I are the same height. I think “undersized” is a term of the past.
Playing in the MAC conference, I would make a similar argument. Khalil Mack played his college football at the same school that I did. Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman—all of these guys played in the MAC. The list goes on and on. It’s not unheard for somebody that played in the MAC to go on to have a successful NFL career. Also, it’s not like I was competing in the MAC conference, I was dominating the MAC.
JM: You were indeed dominant. I love that. I’m going to end things on that note. I’ve really appreciated your time, Jaret. In closing, what kind of impact is Jaret Patterson going to make at the next level?
JP: I’m going to compete at the highest level. From day one, I’m going to put my best foot forward. I’m gonna try to be the best running back that I can be. Whichever team pulls the trigger on me is going to get a player that always gives it everything he has.
I’ve always told people that it doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s what you do once you get there. I plan on playing in the NFL for a very long time.
- Sep 22, 2023
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