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The Draft Spies (Vol. X): Jaret Patterson

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When discussing players who may or may not fit the “Buffalo Bill” (pun intended), many come to mind. One might say that a homegrown talent joining the team would be a great story. There is no shortage of RBs in the upcoming draft that could be an asset to the team, both in the short or long term. Jaret Patterson is one of those guys; a player who already commands respect, praise and occupies a special place in the hearts of Buffalo fans.

SPY 1: WHO is the prospect?

His upbringing came to the forefront in a recent interview with The Jim Rome Show. Jaret Patterson grew up in the small town of Glenn Dale, Maryland. He benefited from having competitive siblings and parents who drove all the Patterson children to pursue greatness in all facets of life. Patterson’s mother was a commanding presence and a major force in young Jaret’s growth, especially in the realm of sports.

Patterson attended St. Vincent Pallotti High School in nearby Laurel, Maryland. There, he flourished as a football player, becoming a prolific RB and the team’s most effective weapon. In his senior year, he earned Sports Player of the Year honors. Furthermore, he was given honorable mention as an All-State athlete. All was not perfect though as Patterson faced significant difficulty attracting (initial) interest from college teams. Meanwhile, his brother James was the more recruited of the two players. But, as luck would have it, an opportunity came calling for both of them.

SPY 2: WHERE did he come from?

The University at Buffalo underwent a revolution of sorts in many aspects of the football program under head coach Lance Leipold, including recruiting. Both Patterson brothers would attend and play for UB in a tandem recruiting deal. It was there that Patterson would become the most accomplished and prolific RB in the school’s history during his three-year collegiate career there. Most recently, in the tumultuous 2020 “COVID” season, Patterson rushed for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in only six games. A blistering pace and stunning efficiency rate. To be able to achieve considerable national media attention from a MAC school is no small feat. Jaret would see his name added to the watchlists for the Doak Walker and Maxwell awards and would earn the praise of legendary NFL runners (see the “Darkhorse Bonus Point” for more on this).

SPY 3: WHAT are his attributes?

Image courtesy of UB Athletics

Patterson has been compared to many players, including Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD, in particular, has been a strong advocate and proponent for Patterson throughout the draft process. When Jim Rome asked Jaret directly about that comparison, he confirmed its accuracy with great humility and confidence.

Patterson is an elite athlete despite his smaller stature and uses his body in the best, and more importantly, most efficient ways. Leg drive, contact balance, power, and elusiveness are all chief components of his game, contributing to his excellent explosiveness on the field. According to Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, Patterson can and does adjust his running style in order to fit the tactical situation at hand. This means that he varies his approach depending on the opponent, both leading up to and during game time.

One major sticking point for NFL teams is variability in how RBs can be used, especially in the passing game. Patterson has been somewhat of an enigma when it comes to passing game ability. BF is here to tell you that you need not worry. Patterson himself has said that he has trained excessively in the passing game role and that his lack of usage at UB was a product of offensive schematics only. Moreover, Patterson has been honing his passing game ability this off-season while training in Florida. Jordan Reid said the following in his assessment of this facet of Patterson’s game: “An easy hands-catcher out of the backfield, he can frequently become involved in the passing game.”

Lastly, Patterson has said that speed was a frequently mentioned area of concern for most teams in meetings throughout the draft process. The general expectation for Patterson suggested that he would run in the 4.6s in the 40-yard dash. He exceeded expectations by running in the 4.5s and scored average to above-average RAS marks in speed and agility, a markedly better performance.

SPY 4: WHEN should he be drafted?

To this point in the draft process, Patterson has been widely pegged to go on Day Three (between rounds four and seven). However, in a recent appearance on NFL Network, MJD proclaimed Patterson to be a “Day Two [round two or three] sleeper pick”. We at Buffalo Fanatics also believe he is being underestimated, but think he likely goes in round four or five.

SPY 5: WHY Patterson is a fit for Buffalo’s offense?

Now you may be thinking: Why would the Bills add another RB who ran a 4.5+ 40-yard dash in the draft? First off, 40-times don’t determine future success (just ask John Ross, Justin Gilbert, Keith Marshall, or former Bill Kolby Listenbee). Secondly, Patterson provides something that neither Motor nor Moss brought last season: explosiveness. How many times did they get stuffed in the backfield last year? How many times did Buffalo’s backs get tackled from behind in the open field? (Not many because they were too busy being stuffed in the backfield.) Patterson would be an excellent change-of-pace back in a committee with Moss and Breida.

DARKHORSE BONUS POINT: Prospect Fun Facts

  • Patterson was high school teammates with Washington edge rusher Chase Young. (This fact is approaching “Fitzy going to Harvard” and “Chris Hogan playing collegiate lacrosse” territory at this point.)
  • Now for a real bombshell: Patterson worked out with MJD earlier this off-season (per Patterson and MJD respectively). These in-person interactions likely contributed to the former All-Pro’s advocacy of Patterson throughout the draft process.

In closing, please follow The Buffalo Fanatics on all platforms, trust the process and go Bills.

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