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Scouting RB Jermar Jefferson

Former NFL scout Daniel Kelly provides his scouting report on Detroit Lions 2021 seventh-round pick Jermar Jefferson.

The seventh round of the NFL Draft is the last chance for college prospects to be selected by NFL franchises, and the final draft pick for the Lions this year was running back Jermar Jefferson out of Oregon State.  

What are the odds he will make the team?  

With running backs D’Andre Swift and free-agent acquisition Jamaal Williams listed ahead of him on the depth chart and undrafted free agent RB Dedrick Mills nipping on his heels, it’s going to be challenging for a handful of reasons. 

With Swift and Williams all but cemented on the regular season roster, it will depend on if the Lions decide to keep three backs. And, if they do, it will depend on if Jefferson can hold off Mills. 

The two are fairly even when it comes to their raw skill sets, but Mills runs hungrier on film. 

If they do decide to keep three backs, a lot of it will also depend on which one of these two guys -- Jefferson or Mills -- performs best on special teams. That is often the difference for guys listed down the ranks on the depth chart.  

What are the odds a late-round pick makes a team in general? 

According to Bleacher Report, only 28.2 percent of picks in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds were around by the end of their first contracts, and that number shrinks to 16.7 percent, if we are just looking at fifth-, sixth-and-seventh-rounders.  

So, there is no question the odds are stacked against Jefferson. However, he has always been a guy who has found a way to get it done.  

After getting drafted, Jefferson, who does not lack confidence, said, “I’m going to shock the world. Just know the Detroit Lions are getting everything out of me. Everything.” 

After running for 1,321 yards as a junior in high school -- but not seeing the offers roll in -- he transferred as a senior and ended up recording 1,861 yards, which got him noticed by Oregon State.  

Then, after struggling some there, he upped his caloric intake, and had his best season as a junior, prior to being drafted. 

He rushed for 120 or more yards in four out of six games in 2020. Additionally, then he put up 226 yards and two touchdowns against rival Oregon, which once again got him noticed -- this time enough to get drafted.  


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RB Jermar Jefferson - 5-foot-10, 216 pounds 

40-yard dash time: 4.56 

Film reviewed from 2020: Against CAL, WASH and ORE 

Grade: C- (average; nothing special about the player) 

Scouting Report

A high, tight and erect, one-cut downhill runner, with the speed that elevates one who lacks any dominant traits. Tough and physical enough to keep running into that proverbial wall straight ahead, as many times as he is asked to. Patient runner who relies on his vision and established holes to get going. Takes what is there. Takes what defenses give him. Does not have second gear, power or moves to create his own opportunities. Gets rolling if he can get past the second level (where the linebackers are lined up). Momentum builds. Is not going to run away from a defense, either, but he is a lot more threatening in the open field than he is around the line of scrimmage. If he gets bottled up before he gets going, he is done. Does not have the juice to bounce it outside. Hands out of the backfield are nothing to write home about (only 43 receptions in three years in college, including 18 the last two years).  

I am not seeing a back on film whose bite matches his bark. I am not seeing someone running like they are possessed or someone who refuses to go down running over people, like North Carolina product Javonte Williams, who is now with the Denver Broncos. 

My money says Jefferson does not make the cut. He will resurface somewhere else down the road because of who he is. But, he is not going to have the time to figure it out in Detroit. 

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