When the Detroit Lions traded up for LB Derrick Barnes, general manager Brad Holmes managed to get the Cleveland Browns to throw in pick No. 257, third to last in the event. With the extra pick, the Lions selected RB Jermar Jefferson, a player Holmes, “didn’t really think that he would still be on the board” at that spot.
Jefferson said he was expecting to be selected in the “third or fourth round” and while he was disappointed, he was still “cherishing the moment”. Jefferson was saying all the right things, but it was clear he was angry about not being selected earlier and acknowledged there was a chip on his shoulder.
“Oh, really angry,” Jefferson responded to if the chip would lead to a more angry running style. “I’ve been in this position before. All my life I’ve been underrated. I went to a low-tier college, wasn’t recruited by any good high schools or anything, went to a low-tier college, like I said before. Again, in the seventh round. But ‘Hey, I’m going to show the world. I’m going to shock the world. Just know the Detroit Lions are getting everything out of me. Everything.”
There is little doubt Jefferson is highly motivated, but it was his play on the field that led to Holmes selecting him.
“Jermar (Jefferson) was actually one that (we identified) early on in the process,” Holmes said in his post-draft press conference. “I want to say during the first week of meetings, you know, in February, really impressive, he’s such an instinctive runner. He has a natural feel to be a slippery inside player. He runs hard, he just has a natural feel from a lot of inside zone stuff. But he can do all phases, gap, power stuff, inside zone stuff. But he’s just a very smooth, slippery, instinctive runner who we’re really excited about.”
Let’s take a closer look at some of those traits by looking at Jefferson’s college highlights, starting with the video produced by the Lions’ media department.
JERMAR JEFFERSON: HOME-RUN HITTER— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 21, 2020
JERMAR JEFFERSON 82-YARD pic.twitter.com/WNifEmrY01— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 28, 2020
RB Jermar Jefferson has outstanding patience, feel, timing for the zone run game...— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 19, 2021
One of the best runners this class in hitting the cutback lane/alleys... Ideal for wide zone team, IMO pic.twitter.com/8HJ20bkgKl
Jermar Jefferson doesn’t have elite long/homerun speed - and that’s ok!— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 19, 2021
He’s exceptionally quick in/out of cuts. Short area bursts are elite! Can accelerate instantly off a plant. He’s upright and swift - easy to see why I call these types ‘Slashers’
Recently met with Packers pic.twitter.com/RLHkMpzZ5W
Probably my favorite of the tier 2 RBs is Jermar Jefferson. Very explosive one-cut runner with advanced footwork on wide zone (not as adept in other run schemes). Then there’s this rep vs the double A-gap twist. Picks up his LB, passes him off for the twist, puts him down pic.twitter.com/WbfCqhLvUs— J Moyer (@JMoyerFB) March 3, 2021
When we’re talking about creating yards for yourself, this is a textbook example by Oregon State RB Jermar Jefferson. Power with the stiff arm and burst to get to the edge. Solid run. pic.twitter.com/55NcwwDDKT— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) June 30, 2019
The 2018 Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year award goes to Jermar Jefferson! #GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/zh7WVRxwmN— Oregon State Football (@BeaverFootball) December 5, 2018