2021 NFL Draft Stock Report: Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson

NFL Draft, 2021 NFL Draft, Jaret Patterson
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

On Nov. 17, Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson set a school record with 301 rushing yards against Bowling Green, with four touchdowns on his 31 carries. Anything close to that for an encore would have been something.

Last Saturday against Kent State, Patterson one (or two)-upped his performance against Bowling Green.

Patterson’s 409 yards fell 18 yards shy of Samaje Perine’s single-game FBS record set at Oklahoma in 2014. Eight touchdowns tied Howard Griffith for the single-game FBS record. On the CBS Sports Network broadcast, with the yardage record so close, analyst Ross Tucker lamented when Patterson was pulled from the game.

Patterson had a 1,000-yard season as a freshman in 2018, with 14 touchdowns as he averaged 5.5 yards per carry. As a sophomore in 2019, he set the Buffalo school records for rushing yards (1,799) and rushing touchdowns (19).

Jaret Patterson Pushing Draft Stock To New Level

Patterson was on the NFL radar heading into his junior season. In a piece by Rachel Lenzi of the Buffalo News, before the Kent State game, some draft analysts weighed in on Patterson.

Jordan Reid of The Draft Network: “Coming into the season, Patterson was already on scouts’ radars, but he wasn’t draft eligible,” Reid said in an email to The News. “He’s built a lot of excitement during his freshman and sophomore seasons. His performance against Bowling Green is not only helping his case, but it’s also building a surplus of positive evidence to include within his NFL draft profile.”

Ryan Roberts of NFL Draft Bible.com: “He might not just be a third-down back some might paint him to be, because of his size, but he is so well put together,” “He has a low center or gravity, and he runs so hard. Right now, he is changing a lot of peoples’ mindsets. Maybe he isn’t just a niche running back at the next level. Maybe he’s someone who can be heavily involved in what the trend is becoming, the back-by-committee approach. He’s quieted a lot of doubters who have said, ‘Hey, he’s a really good MAC player, but …”

Is Patterson For Real?

Patterson is listed at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds. So he’s easy to pigeonhole as a third-down back at the next level. It’s also easy to view his production as a product of playing MAC competition. But games against Penn State (90 total yards) and Temple (133 rushing yards, 2 TD) in 2019 prove he has been up to the task against tougher opponents.

Patterson has scheduled regular season games left against Ohio and Akron.Entering this week, Ohio is allowing just under 194 rushing yards per game and Akron is allowing a little over 225. With 920 yards and 16 touchdowns through four games, Patterson is a shoe-in for over 1,000 yards in a full six games. 20 touchdowns on the ground is well within reach too. The 4-0 Bulls are also headed toward a berth in the MAC title game.

Patterson has yet to be targeted in the passing game this season. In his first two seasons, he had 20 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown on 25 targets. So that’s an undeveloped aspect of his game looking to the next level.

It looks to be a deep running back class for the 2021 NFL Draft. On their most recent prospect rankings CBS Sports has Patterson No. 2, behind only Clemson’s Travis Etienne.