NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson

From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#6 Jermar Jefferson / RB Oregon State – 5100 217

The Good

– Very productive career for a team that wasn’t very successful
– Vision and patience to find the correct gaps
– Good acceleration to take away defenders angles
– Slippery through traffic; able to find gaps just out of defenders reach
– Long speed; had several long runs
– Solid adjusting to throw and when tracking the ball in the air

The Bad

– Runs a bit high and doesn’t stay square taking on tacklers limiting his power
– Marginal contact balance often going down on first contact
– Didn’t show suddenness laterally in on the second level to make defenders miss
– Pass protection technique need a lot of improvement
– Very limited usage in the passing game


– Career – 514 carries, 2,923 yards, 5.7 YPC, 27 TD’s, 43 receptions, 299 yards, 7.0 YPR, 2 TD; 2 KR for 32 yards, 16 YPR
– 2020 – 133 carries, 858 yards, 6.5 YPC, 7 TD’s, 9 receptions for 67 yards, 7.4 YPR, 2 KR for 32 yards, 16 YPR
– 27 games, 21 starts
– 2020 Co-Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year by Associated Press
– 2020 AP and Coaches All-Pac-12 First Team
– 2018 – Named a Freshman All-American by The Athletic, ESPN, USA Today, the FWAA and 247Sports
– Also ran track in high school
– Majoring in Sociology

Tape Breakdown

I did not know a lot about Jermar Jefferson but his production made him worth a look.  He had 15 career 100 yards games in 27 games and averaged a touchdown per game for a team that had nine total wins in his three years.  The junior ran primarily in a Zone rushing scheme with some touches of power schemes.

As a runner, he has good patience and vision to find the right gap on Zone runs and is decisive once the choice is made. On his limited Gap/Power runs he showed good vision and decision making to cut off the leverage of the blockers leading for him. He has a solid jump cut to move laterally to find the correct gap or avoid defenders in the backfield. He has good burst and is solid working through traffic.  He is more slippery than dynamic. On his runs you’ll often see players just out of reach when trying to angle toward him. On the second level and beyond he uses subtle, simple cuts to change direction and will lower a shoulder against safeties and corners. In space he can take it the distance. In two of the games I watched he took his first touch in the game for touchdowns (75 and 82 yards) and had two other long runs.

At Washington, here is a toss sweep to the right. I like the patience by Jefferson (6) to let the pullers make their blocks and the decision and acceleration to make the cut between them.


Here is his first touch versus California.  He patiently lets the blocks develop before cutting inside and then turns on the jets to go 75 yards.


And against Oregon, again on his first touch of the game. He presses right and finds a little cut back lane and weaves though before taking it the distance. From the end zone view it’s a good look at him squeezing through all the bodies.


Against Oregon, he’ll use a jump cut to the left and good burst to gain 33 yards in a hurry.


As a receiver, his usage was extremely limited.  The majority of his routes were from check releases and were in the flat or sneaks in the short area.  He was used on screens and has good acceleration and uses his blocks well and had some success on wheel routes but that was about it for his route running. His hands are solid. He fights the ball a bit but didn’t have any drops and he will make body catches when he can. He displayed a solid ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls and tracked the ball well on the wheel. As a blocker, he seems to understand his role and is in the right position until he releases and he did show a solid cut block.

At Washington State, Jefferson (22) will run the wheel from the backfield, tracking the ball well and making the catch for the touchdown.


Vs California, this was the best pass pro rep that I saw. This wasn’t the norm but shows there is potential. Jefferson (6) knows his assignment and steps up to engage LB#8 and then passes him off to pick up LB#54 getting into his chest and sending him to the ground.


He isn’t dynamic or elusive with the ball other than the jump cut and a stop/start move. He runs a bit high and also doesn’t stay square limiting the power behind his pads to gain extra yards. His contact balance is marginal often going down on first contact on the first level no matter who was making the tackle. His pass protection was marginal and needs a lot of work. It wasn’t really a use of technique but more of a just get in the way effort most of the time.  He did attempt to throw chips on the edge but they did not always make contact or have any effect when they did.

Overall, Jefferson has good vision, patience, and acceleration and has the speed to take it the distance.  He runs a bit high, doesn’t break tackles, and was used sparingly in the passing game and needs to improve his pass blocking.

To me, Jefferson is intriguing. When I was questioning his speed, he had several big runs. When I was wishing he were more physical as a runner, he would stiff arm a defender to the ground. When I wanted him to be better in pass pro he executes passing off pass rushers and puts a guy on his back. He shows the potential to be a more complete back but why doesn’t it show all the time? Maybe he just needs the right coach to get all of the best out of him. I think he can be a number two back in a Zone or Gap scheme on early downs initially and if he can be coached up in the passing game he can be used on passing downs down the road.

Projection:  Early Day 3

Games Watched:  2019 – At Washington State; 2020 – At Washington, Vs California, Vs Oregon, Vs Arizona State

Previous 2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles
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RB Elijah Mitchell OT Alex Leatherwood TE Hunter Long RB Najee Harris
CB Tyson Campbell LB Zaven Collins DB Greg Newsome TE Tony Poljan
DL Christian Barmore RB Kenneth Gainwell OT Rashawn Slater WR Kadarius Toney
RB Michael Carter EDGE Joe Tryon CB Thomas Graham Jr. WR Amari Rodgers
RB Demetric Felton C Creed Humphrey C Trey Hill LB Jabril Cox
CB Asante Samuel Jr. S Joshuah Bledsoe OT Samuel Cosmi S Trevon Moehrig
RB Chuba Hubbard S James Wiggins LB Garret Wallow RB Kylin Hill
WR Dazz Newsome RB Khalil Herbert CB Shaun Wade WR Tylan Wallace
RB Rhamondre Stevenson CB Camryn Bynum WR Amon-Ra St. Brown WR Shi Smith
OT Liam Eichenberg EDGE Patrick Jones DT Alim McNeill OT Christian Darrisaw
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