The Oregon State Beavers have had just two running backs drafted to the NFL since 2000. Following a highly productive college career, can Jermar Jefferson follow in the footsteps of Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers at the 2021 NFL Draft?
Jermar Jefferson NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: Oregon State
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’10 1/8″
- Weight: 206 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Jermar Jefferson Scouting Report
Positives: Three-year starter who posted a career-best 1,380 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns as a freshman. An explosive ball carrier who grinds it out on the inside while also displaying the speed to run to daylight. Patient, displays good vision, and finds the running lanes. Effectively follows blocks, has a burst through the hole, and consistently runs north and south.
Keeps his feet moving and beats defenders into the open field then runs to daylight. Plays much faster than his forty time. Does not go down without a fight and picks up huge chunks of yardage. Runs with balance as well as body control. Quick-footed, sets defenders up and makes them miss.
Negatives: Displays suspect instincts. Easily knocked off-balance by the initial hit. Not a back who is going to move the pile. Easily brought down by a single defender at times.
Analysis: Jefferson was a dynamic back with an inconsistent game. He looked like a world-beater on occasions, then displayed pedestrian skills in other instances. He possesses the size and skill to be a primary back in the NFL, though Jefferson must raise all levels of his game and consistently play at a high level.
Jermar Jefferson Player Profile
The college production that has made Jermar Jefferson a highly regarded 2021 NFL Draft prospect was evident in his early football career. The Harbor City native emerged onto the scene at Redondo Union High School. The diminutive running back rushed for 1,327 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. As well as his ability on the ground, he demonstrated valuable pass-catching ability with 161 receiving yards and a touchdown.
A three-star recruit and ranked as the 41st running back in the 2017 class, he attracted early attention. Prior to his senior season, he announced a shortlist of five teams that were the favorites to capture his services. At that point, Rutgers was considered the front-runner.
Despite suffering the upheaval of moving high schools leading up to his senior year, his stock continued to rise. At Narbonne High School he helped lead the school to a state championship. Earning All-City honors, he racked up 1,861 yards and 34 touchdowns at a phenomenal 9.1 yards per carry. Away from the football field he also excelled on the track, setting a personal best of 10.86 in the 100 meters.
As a result of his senior season superlatives, he added offers from USC and Oregon State before committing to play running back for the Beavers.
Jermar Jefferson’s college football career at Oregon State
Jermar Jefferson heads to the 2021 NFL Draft having etched his name alongside Oregon State running back legends. He made an immediate impact on the program as a true freshman. Having made his debut against Ohio State, he exploded onto the college scene in his second game. Against Southern Utah, he rushed for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns.
When he repeated the 4-touchdown feat later in the season — against Washington State — he became the first Oregon State running back to have two 4-touchdown games in one season. Over his career he would be a perpetual thorn in the side of Washington State, scoring 11 touchdowns in just three games against the Cougars.
He ended his freshman season with 1,380 yards at 5.8 yards per carry. Making 9 starts in 12 games, he had 100+ yard games on seven occasions. As a result of his performances, he was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Additionally, he earned Freshman All-American honors.
An injury blighted 2019 season is followed by a bounce-back for the Beavers running back
Despite battling injuries as a sophomore in 2019, he still put up 8 touchdowns including 4 total against Washington State. However, with just six starts, his production took a steep nosedive. The majority of his 695 yards came in three big games against Hawai’i, Arizona, and of course Washington State.
As if motivated by his down year in 2019, he put on a masterclass to end his Oregon State career. Starting six games in the shortened season, he rushed for 6.5 yards per carry, racking up 858 yards.
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Once again, his performances earned him a glut of honors. He was named the Co-Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and landed on the All-Pac-12 First Team. He also drew national attention following an Oregon State record 226-yard night as the Beavers shocked their rivals Oregon.
Following the conclusion of the 2020 college football season, Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jermar Jefferson’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson offers a versatile skill set that should make him a valuable commodity in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has demonstrated the ability to do a lot of things well during his college career. Although it could be argued he doesn’t have one area where he is better than any other prospect in the class, the all-round game should help make him a major contributor in the NFL.
His ability to extend plays in the passing game will also prove attractive at the next level. As a result of his skill set, he projects to be scheme versatile in the NFL. Some teams that will look to add a running back in the 2021 NFL Draft are the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, and the Los Angeles Chargers.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.