The Patriots are one of several teams who have met virtually with University of Buffalo running back, Jaret Patterson.
With both James White and Rex Burkhead about to be unrestricted free agents, that leaves the Patriots with four running backs under contract heading into the 2021 season. Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden, and J.J. Taylor are all on the depth chart.
I suppose it is possible that Belichick goes into next season with just those four running backs on the roster, but it also makes a lot of sense to draft and develop a new, young, exciting player. One player who has all the intangibles you need to be a successful running back in the NFL is Buffalo’s, Jaret Patterson.
Jaret Patterson is a talented prospect you should familiarize yourself with. He stands out as an intriguing player who could provide substantial value in the middle rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Let’s take a closer look at him.
Name: Jaret Patterson
Size: 5’9”, 195 lbs
Position: Running back
Expected round: 5th/6th
Patterson was astonishingly productive in the three years of his college career. In fact, his stat line almost looks like video game numbers. As a freshman in 2018, Patterson accumulated 1,013 yards and 14 touchdowns. His sophomore year was even more impressive. He rushed for 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns. And his junior year? He rushed for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns.
In late November of his junior year, Patterson had the games of his life. First, he ran for 301 yards and four touchdowns against Bowling Green. He followed that performance the following week with a record eight rushing touchdowns against Kent State to go along with 409 rushing yards.
His big-time production the last two seasons is exciting, but there is much more to his game than just numbers. In fact, CBS Sports currently has Patterson ranked as the No. 6 running back in the class and 86th overall.
You may be wondering how a player like Patterson can put up the impressive numbers as he did, and yet not be ranked higher? His short-statured body likely has a lot to do with it. Don’t let Patterson’s size fool you though, he is an extremely tough runner who shows impressive contact balance and can certainly create after the first contact. He is quick and elusive in space and has a knack for working through traffic and even the smallest holes. He lets the blocks develop and he has the necessary vision to find the cut back lanes.
Draft Prospect: Jaret Patterson
— Kevin Tame Jr. (@Kevin_Tame) February 23, 2021
There are some things Patterson will have to work on at the NFL level, such as pass blocking. He did not see a lot of reps pass blocking in college, and that is an important attribute to getting on the field.
While Patterson has not put up much production as a pass-catcher, he does appear to have natural hands and does a great job of creating after the catch. I would certainly be interested to see Patterson’s growth as a pass-catcher going forward. He would likely be a productive player in this area with more opportunities. A couple of realistic comparable players to Patterson are Boston Scott and Brandon Oliver.
The Patriots have done a solid job of developing running backs in the past decade with Stevan Ridley Shane Vereen, James White, Sony Michel, and Damien Harris. All of those players made major contributions. For example, Shane Vereen and James White both had double-digit catches out of the backfield in a Super Bowl.
It remains to be seen what the Patriots do with their draft picks, but we’ll get some answers soon because the NFL Draft takes place in just over two months.
–Kevin Tame Jr. is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Tame