2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

On the west coast, collegiate programs run a very different style of offense. Jermar Jefferson, the running back for the Oregon State Beavers, is the epitome of that style. He’s a hard-nosed runner that punishes defenses, and as we’ll detail in this scouting report, Jermar Jefferson is a hidden gem in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In this report, we’ll go through the background of Jefferson and look author he performed in college. Next, we’ll turn on the game film and look at what Jefferson does well, as well as areas where he needs to improve. Finally, we’ll look at his scouting report and predict where he’ll be drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Background

Coming out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California, Jermar Jefferson was a consensus three-star recruiting prospect. ESPN and 247 Sports had Jefferson listed as a top 50 running back in the country.

Prior to his commitment to Oregon State, Jefferson had an offer from Rutgers University, but also visited Utah State. In January of 2018, Jermar Jefferson committed to Oregon State. In February of the same year, he signed his letter of intent. Finally, In June of 2018, Jefferson officially enrolled in classes.

In 2018, Jefferson’s freshman season, he competed in 12 games, including nine starts. Jefferson finished with 1,380 yards on 239 carries, along with an impressive 12 touchdowns on the season.

2019 saw a decrease in production as Jefferson only appeared in nine games, starting six of them. However, he recorded a total of ten touchdowns, including two of them as a receiver.

With the PAC-12 playing a shortened season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Jermar Jefferson was a star for the Oregon State Beavers. He finished with 858 rushing yards on 133 carries, along with seven touchdowns. However, he also finished with triple-digit rushing yards in five of his six games, including a 226 yard performance against Oregon and a three touchdown game against Washington State.

 

What I Like About Jermar Jefferson

As with all of our scouting reports, we like to include game film to better illustrate what we’re seeing on tape. Down below, I’ve attached three clips from 2019 and 2020 games. For the first clip, we’re at home for the 2020 game against Oregon.

 

Lateral Agility

When it comes to the running back position, one of the most important traits is lateral agility. In this play, Jefferson gets the ball right up against his own end zone. With little room to work in, Jefferson eludes defenders at the line of scrimmage, finding a hole to the outside. Once through the lane, Jefferson gets skinny as he evades a few more tackles. Backed up against the end zone, Jefferson pops this play for a huge gain, keeping his team on the field.

 

Pass Catching Ability

This is just a simple route into the flat by the running back. With that being said, the effort from Jefferson to bring this ball in is worthy of being mentioned here. The back has to adjust to the ball, given its poor placement, to bring in this catch. Quite frankly, there are plenty of wide receivers in this draft class that wouldn’t be able to bring this ball in.

 

Contact Balance

If asked to describe Jermar Jefferson in a few words, one of them would almost certainly refer to his balance through contact. In this play, much like his previous ones linked here, Jefferson works through narrow running lanes. After the initial contact, Jefferson remains upright and fights for additional yardage. This isn’t the type of play that will turn a lot of heads, but it’s the epitome of what type of runner he is.

 

What I Dislike About Jermar Jefferson

On the previous page, we looked at three clips that best highlight what Jermar Jefferson does so well. As with all of our scouting reports, we also include clips that spotlight where an NFL Draft prospect needs to improve. Below, I’ve attached three clips that do just that.

 

Patience and Vision

On the previous page, we talked about Jermar Jefferson’s lateral agility. Backed against his own endzone, Jefferson was able to elude defenders at the line of scrimmage and break the run for a big gain. However, this effort here is the complete opposite. The right tackle creates plenty of room for Jefferson to run through, but he doesn’t see it. While this play does result in a gain of five years, it could have resulted in much more. This drive results in a field goal but could have been much more successful with a better effort.

 

Ball Security

One of the worst things that a running back can do is put the ball on the ground. In this play, Jermar Jefferson has plenty of space up the middle to get the first down. However, with a defender in front of him, Jefferson fails to secure the ball with two hands. Instead, the ball is fumbled and recovered by the defense. As successful as this play would have been, it ends up being the polar opposite.

 

Pass Blocking Technique

I don’t want to focus on the result of the play, but rather the technique used by Jermar Jefferson. This is a play-action pass, but Jefferson has plenty of time to set his feet and attack the defensive player. However, instead of attacking, Jefferson allows the defender to come to him. As a result, he’s beat on the outside. I’d love to see Jermar Jefferson play more aggressively and attack defenders. Further, I want to see him use his hands much more violently.

 

Jermar Jefferson NFL Draft Scouting Report

 

Pros
  • Lateral Agility
  • Burst and Quickness
  • Fight For Additional Yardage

 

Cons
  • Patience To Let Running Lanes Develop
  • Pass Protection
  • Ball Security In 2020

 

The Verdict

Ultimately, I believe that Jermar Jefferson would certainly fit the mold as an NFL running back. As I’ve shown throughout this report, Jefferson is a tough runner that fights for additional yardage and punishes defenders through contact. However, he’s got great lateral agility and can elude defensive players in close quarters.

Despite not having long-term production that the top running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft have, Jermar Jefferson is still a very solid value. It’s possible that Jefferson could sneak into the third round of the NFL Draft, but more likely, he could be a top option in day three.

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