DFF Draft Coverage: Jermar Jefferson to the Lions

Jermar Jefferson | Oregon State              5’10” 206 lbs.        4/15/200 (Age 21)

Jermar Jefferson was drafted 257th overall in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He was the 18th running back drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.

College Production

Year Games Played   Attempts   Yards   Receptions   Total TDs  
2018 (FR) 12 239 1380 25 12
2019 (SO) 9 142 685 9 10
2020 (JR)   6 133 858 9 7

Jermar Jefferson broke out as a true freshman in 2018 as he garnered Freshman All-American, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and honorable mention all-conference honors with 1,380 rushing yards and 12 scores on 239 carries (5.8 per attempt). Jefferson also caught 25 passes for 147 yards that season, displaying his competence as a receiver. The following season, an ankle injury stunted his sophomore campaign limiting him to six starts in nine games played as he compiled 142 carries, 685 yards, and eight touchdowns. Jefferson rebounded in 2020, earning first-team All-Pac-12 accolades by ranking fourth in the FBS with 143 rushing yards per game and ninth with 159.5 all-purpose yards per game. He did miss one game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Jefferson ran for 226 yards and two rushing TDs against rival #15 Oregon and added two receptions for nine yards in Oregon State’s upset win in 2020. Jefferson essentially put the Beavers on his back en route to running over what many believed was the best defense in the Pac-12.

Athletic Testing

Jermar Jefferson measured in about 15 lbs. lighter than most people expected and disappointed in all of his Pro Day tests. This is undoubtedly why he fell in the NFL Draft. He ran just a 4.56 40-yard dash and jumped 31.5″ inches in the vertical. He further surprised scouts when he recorded just 13 bench press reps. Jefferson measured in at 5’10½ ” and 206 lbs. Accordingly, Jefferson’s draft stock plummeted. 

Draft Analysis

Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Poor

Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Above-Average

Jefferson was selected with the 257th pick by the Detroit Lions. The draft slide cannot go unnoticed.  His Pro Day numbers are certainly to blame, as his film was strong. However, the landing spot in Detroit is better than most fantasy owners realize. The Lions are embarking on a rebuild and just reloaded in the trenches on both sides of the ball throughout this draft. What once was a below-average offensive line now looks (on paper) to be one of the league’s best after free agency and the draft.

There is no denying that D’Andre Swift is the feature back in Detroit. Jamal Williams is a serviceable backup and change of pace option as well. However, while Williams’ contract was inked as a two-year deal, the details suggest he will be gone after 2021 as Detroit can save $4.375 million by cutting him. Jermar has a season to hit a professional-level strength and conditioning program and learn from established veterans. He was chosen by the new regime that is several steps into what looks like an exciting rebuild. Savvy owners will view Jermar Jefferson as a dynasty stash. 

Fantasy Insights

Jefferson displays vision, acceleration, balance, and a willingness to finish runs. He has shown to be a capable receiver and was the biggest threat the Beavers had throughout his entire college career. Teams would aim to shut him down each game. Jefferson looked the part of a feature back at the next level on film and has proven he can dominate some of the highest levels of college competition. 

All that being said, Jefferson’s testing numbers soured NFL front offices and may have incited a lack of work ethic narrative. He was drafted after several RBs whom he was heads and tails better than and healthier than on film (I’m looking at you Jake Funk, Gerrid Doaks, Kylin Hill, Khalil Herbert, Gary Brightwell, Chris Evans, Larry Roundtree). Some of those players were drafted for their special teams value. Prior to the draft, your author had Jefferson ranked as his RB6 in this class. While the round seven draft capital surprises, savvy owners will draft and stash Jermar Jefferson on their taxi squads. 

Thank you for checking out DFF’s 2021 NFL Draft Coverage! Stay tuned as we break down every fantasy-relevant pick during the draft. Please consider our yearly DFF subscription, so we can continue to deliver top-notch analysis and fantasy breakdowns. 

I appreciate your time! If you enjoyed this piece, you can find more of my work and countless other quality reads and content offered here at Dynasty Football Factory. Also, you can interact with me on Twitter at @DocFFFN.


Founder of Fantasy Football Fright Night | #FFFN | @FFFrightNight| PhD | Staff Writer; Copy Editor @DFF_Dynasty| #IDP | #Devy | #DynastyFootball | #DFFArmy

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