Rookie Rundown: RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State

Rookie Rundown: RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State

By

Oregon State product Jermar Jefferson brings a tenacious style of play to the 2021 NFL Draft and is somewhat of a throwback to the running backs of yesteryear.

In a pro game currently centered on volume passing and splash plays, Jefferson may struggle to see enough work in the pros to make major impact in the box score, but he will certainly give everything he has to his future employer. In his time with the Beavers, Jefferson was a highly productive, three-year contributor. As a true freshman, he rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and a dozen scores, receiving Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors. Jefferson also took home the recognition of making the Freshman All-American Team, and he tacked on an honorable mention for All-Pac 12 in 2018.

Height: 5-foot-10 1/8
Weight: 206 pounds
40 time: 4.55 seconds

As a sophomore, an ankle injury cost him three games and cut into his overall effectiveness. Jefferson rebounded nicely in an abbreviated 2020 campaign. The junior averaged 159.5 offensive yards per game and finished fourth in FBS for rushing yards per contest (143). This performance earned him a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 roster.

Table: Jermar Jefferson NCAA stats (2018-20)

Year
School
Class
Gm*
Rushing
Receiving
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
2018
Oregon State
FR
12
239
1,380
5.8
12
25
147
5.9
0
2019
Oregon State
SO
9
142
685
4.8
8
9
85
9.4
2
2020
Oregon State
JR
6
133
858
6.5
7
9
67
7.4
0
Career
514
2,923
5.7
27
43
299
7.0
2

*includes postseason/bowl games

Not particularly big in stature or fast in a straight line, Jefferson had to work hard for his success in college ball. While his numbers were far from eye-popping, it is difficult to argue with his overall body of work from a weekly basis perspective.

Pros

  • Fierce rusher who mixes a multitude of styles into his game — effective jump-cut, stop-and-go, and spin moves sprinkled throughout his tape
  • A bull in a China shop in the open field — rarely shies from contact and is intent on leaving his mark on a defender
  • Natural north-south feel for zone-blocking system — above-average patience, good instincts in traffic, sets up defenders to guess how he’ll play off of a block
  • Capable pass protector with room for growth — foundational strength for a staff to coach up on technique
  • Nose for the end zone
  • Showed improvement on a per-game basis as a junior
  • Productive track record — averaged 108 yards per game in NCAA career
  • Grinder who wears down defenses and may be at his best late in games as a closer

Cons

  • Seldom used in the passing game — decent enough hands but far from special as a receiver
  • Tendency to prematurely look for a cutback on outsize zones
  • Not overly capable of making plays for himself
  • Lacks straight-line speed to threaten for a home run
  • A few instances on film of him getting ahead of his blocks
  • Limited technique and talent in pass protection — will require extra coaching to improve his ability
  • Violent style of play will increase his odds of injury
  • Can he find an NFL team offering enough volume to really get his engine revving?

Fantasy football outlook

Jefferson’s physical limitations will likely prevent a selection earlier than Day 3 in the NFL draft, and he even could tumble into the sixth round. Too few teams are interested in rostering a bully of a back in today’s NFL, but there will be a home for him as a reserve.

Jefferson is an ideal fit in zone-blocking systems, and elements of this famed scheme have become so commonplace that he could wind up with any number of teams.

Fantasy footballers probably won’t find Jefferson on a roster in 2021, at least not coming out of drafts. In a pinch, a real-life team could present him an opportunity via injury, making Jefferson a hot add off the wire.

The long-term outlook is friendlier, though, and it will be surprising if Jefferson doesn’t earn a primary role in an offensive game plan. He has low-end RB2 potential, albeit with a potential for a shortened career.

THE LATEST

More Huddle