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NFL Draft

Jermar Jefferson: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • March 20, 2021
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Today’s NFL offenses love versatile playmakers who can line up all over the field and score every time they touch the ball. That’s why the entire league should be clamoring for Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson on draft weekend. That’s the type of playmaking ability that Jefferson showcased throughout his time as a Beaver.

One of the more underrated running backs in this year’s class, Jefferson spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his career at Oregon State, the versatility he offers in the passing game, and what kind of player he’ll be at the next level.

JM: You had a great career at Oregon State. How do you look back on it?

JJ: I would say that I had a good career at Oregon State. I left my mark on the program. I did my job and left a good impression while doing it. I always put my best foot forward and gave it my all. I can truly say that I did my best. My sophomore year came with some struggles. I got injured. I had to sit out a few games. I came back in 2020 with something to prove.

JM: And you absolutely did that. What’s your favorite part of playing the running back position?

JJ: People laugh when I say this sometimes, but I don’t really get hit (laughs). Instead of getting hit, I do the hitting. That’s my favorite part of it. I get to go out there and hit somebody. That’s why I love playing offense. I rather hit somebody than get hit.

JM: One of the things that jump out at me about your game is how your footwork can allow you to make jump cuts that get you out of trouble. You also have the vision to see cut-back lanes. How did you develop these aspects of your game?

JJ: I think my vision as a ball-carrier is one of my best attributes. I naturally have great vision. I’ve always played the game that way. I was born to play the running back position. I see things well as they develop. I’ve been playing running back my entire life. I’m used to seeing holes open up and become available to me.

JM: It’s evident on tape. You’re a dangerous playmaker in the passing game as well. We’ve seen guys like Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey really change the way the game is played from the RB position. How important is it for a running back to be versatile and catch passes nowadays?

JJ: It’s so important in the league today. I feel like you’ll last a lot longer in this league if you can catch the ball out of the backfield. I would add a note about pass protection as well. You have to be able to handle your own in pass pro nowadays. I think both of those things are incredibly valuable in today’s NFL.

JM: You’re absolutely right about that. You’re not going to get a chance to fly out and meet with teams in person due to COVID-19, but you are meeting with them virtually via Zoom. Which teams have you met with so far?

JJ: I’ve spoken with the 49ers, Packers, Colts, Jets, and Patriots. Those are the meetings that I’ve had so far.

JM: That’s great. There’s clearly a lot of interest in you. If you could take a handoff from any quarterback in the NFL, who would you choose and why?

JJ: I would probably say Tom Brady. I grew up watching him and playing with him on Madden (laughs). I was like six or seven years old and he was already in the league (laughs). It’s crazy. I was just a kid. To be on the same team with him and to have him hand me the ball, that would be absolutely crazy. That would be wild, man.

JM: I certainly can’t blame you. I’m going to give you two scenarios and I want to know which one you prefer. A 75-yard touchdown run, or carrying the ball six or more times on a long scoring drive?

JJ: I’ll take the 75-yard touchdown run (laughs). I’d rather have that one for sure. I can display all of my skills on just one play. In order to score a 75-yard touchdown, I must have displayed my speed, strength, and vision on that play. With six carries, you probably didn’t showcase your speed. If you did, you would have scored before the fifth or sixth carry (laughs).

JM: That’s fair. If you could sit down and pick the brain of any running back, who would it be?

JJ: I would choose Frank Gore. I would pick somebody with a lot of experience. He’s been in the league for such a long time. I know he would have a lot of knowledge to share with me. I can learn so much from somebody like that. I would love to sit down and talk ball with him.

JM: I love that answer. That’s a great choice. I’ve never received that answer to that question before. I’ve really appreciated your time tonight, Jermar. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on Jermar Jefferson?

JJ: An NFL team should use one of their draft picks on Jermar Jefferson because I’m always going to give it my all for the team. Any team that gives me a chance, they’re going to get the best version of Jermar Jefferson. I’m gonna give it everything I have to give.

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