Updated: Nov 29, 2021
By Adam Aniba
Washington's run game in 2020 was lackluster at best with 1,418 total yards rushing with 16 total TD's, but rookie Antonio Gibson was the bright spot, accounting for 795 yards with 11 touchdowns on 170 carriers (Barber 258 yards 4 td's & McKissic 365 yards 1 td).
During the pre-draft process, University of Buffalo running back Jarrett Patterson was a prospect we evaluated and dedicated our first 2021 Draft Prospect Card to during the pre-draft evaluation process. (CLICK Card Below for story).
Although many projections had Patterson as a Late Day 3 prospect, to the delight of Washington, the Bison running back went undrafted and Ron Rivera made Patterson the lone post-draft UDFA signing this offseason. Infact Washington's head of scouting for the Northeast region Peter Picerelli, reportedly pounded the table for Patterson and was ecstatic when the Bison back was signed post-draft.
Making the Team
Patterson defied the odds by making the team behind Antonio Gibson and J.D.McKissic as the lone UDFA signed by Ron Rivera and Washington. The former Bison back, showed during the pre-season that he could be a reliable pass catcher, although he did have a few mental errors in the final exhibition match up vs Baltimore.
Washington's GM MArtin Mayhew stated mentioned that Paterson reminded him of former Washington running back Ricky Ervins a fan favorite, similar to Patterson, Ervins had a knack for getting low behind the the o-line. It can be challenge for linebackers attempting to locate smaller/shiftier backs at the line of scrimmage, which makes the addition of Patterson encouraging for a run game that needs a boost.
Although the former Buffalo University back went undrafted, Patterson fans point to the 11/28/20 matchup vs Kent State as the Showcase Game for Patterson. In the matchup, Patterson accounted for 409 rushing yards which was a Mac record. More impressive though, the Bison back tied the NCAA record with 8 rushing td's with an eye opening 11.4 yards per carry.
Fans are well aware of the connection between Chase Young and Patterson who both grew up in Prince George's County playing together at St. Vincent Palloti in Laurel, MD. After 2 seasons, Young transferred to high school football powerhouse DeMatha.
Fox 7 News sports reporter Scott Abraham sat down with Patterson, who had the following to say about his relationship with Young.
"Since middle school we've been tight. That bond, we went to Palloti together, experiencing the grind. It kind of just clicked. Even when he went to DeMatha we were still tight," Patterson said. "Our relationship is good to this day. I see him as a friend, a brother. He has the right to say that he made this happen as well. He vouched for me, he wanted me to come to Washington. He vouched for me to Coach Rivera, that definitely shows he believes in me and I'm going to put on."
**Pre-Season Stats (3 games) 28 rushes 110 yards, 10 rec 70 yards with 1 KR 37 yards
What's Ahead for Patterson
Second year running back Antonio Gibson's role will certainly be expanded this season after starting 10 games in 2020. An eye towards utilizing Gibson, similar to how former Ron Rivera back Christian McCaffrey was used in Carolina and been mentioned. Truth be told, Gibson is only in his 2nd full season playing running back, with many packages during his time at Memphis dedicated to the passing game. There is no doubt Gibson is RB#1 to start the season, but Patterson has been playing running back for over 15 years and can contribute to the run game immediately.
Patterson has a golden opportunity ahead and will get every chance to carve out a role in OC Scott Turner's offense. It's no secret that Washington's run game, particularly on 3rd down/4th and short has struggled over the last decade plus, regardless who the coaching staff was. Patterson can be counted on in short yardage/goal line packages to start, but make no mistake, Patterson is a man on a mission and should represent a key piece for an effective multi-dimensional run attack in Washington.
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*Photos credit washingtonfottball.com and YouTube credit SwayRun21