It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
Six hours after the Derrick Barnes selection, the Lions were finally on the clock again, and with their final pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they selected Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson.
Player selected: Jermar Jefferson
Current players on roster at RB:
- Kerryon Johnson
- D’Andre Swift
- Jamaal Williams
- Nick Bawden (FB)
- Jason Cabinda (FB)
Offseason losses at RB:
- Adrian Peterson
The Lions running back group was arguably the lone position that did not warrant an early draft pick, with D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and Kerryon Johnson secure as the top three options. However, one aspect of the Lions running back room was missing: a dedicated pass catcher. The Lions had a lot of success with Theo Riddick in the past as a mismatch weapon against linebackers.
Insert Jermar Jefferson.
Much like Riddick, Jefferson is a subpar athlete, but that should not be discouraging. Jefferson is a receiving threat out of the backfield, capable of turning short check downs into sizable results. He has some decent power too despite his smaller stature, and his vision is among the best in the class. With such a thin, albeit strong running back group, Jefferson could find a role in the offense. Working against him will be any undrafted free agents or late signings, but Jefferson will like have the edge given his production in college.
Kerryon Johnson might be on the roster bubble, but not only would Jefferson have to really impress as a pass catcher, he would need to showcase good pass blocking skills to match what Johnson brings. Even if Jefferson shines, the Lions could keep four running backs anyway. I would be surprised if the top three changes come September. The Lions kept four running backs on the initial 53-man roster (Swift, Johnson, Ty Johnson, and Bo Scarbrough), and that could happen in 2021 as well.