Kiper: Jaret Patterson projected as fifth-to-seventh round pick

The ESPN NFL Draft analyst says there's a lot of depth in this year's running back class

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said on Monday that he sees University at Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson going somewhere in the fifth-to-seventh round of this year’s NFL Draft.

“In Buffalo, he obviously had some gaping holes to run through,” Kiper said of Patterson on a media conference call. “He did a great job with production. There were times when I saw him basically find yards that weren't there, and show balance, and run through some traffic and stay on his feet.”

Kiper noted that he’s “rooting for” Patterson, considering the running back is originally from Glenn Dale, Maryland, not far from Kiper’s hometown of Baltimore, where he resides.

The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Patterson was incredibly productive in his three years at Buffalo, topping 1,000 yards rushing each season, including leading the nation this past season with an average of 178.7 yards per-game. He also scored 19 rushing touchdowns, tied for third-most in the NCAA, despite only playing six games.

Patterson finished his Bulls career as the school’s second all-time leading rusher with 3,884 yards, and shattering the school record with 52 rushing touchdowns.

Against Kent State last November, Patterson rushed for 409 yards, the second-most ever in an FBS game. He also ran for eight touchdowns that day, tying the FBS record for most rushing touchdowns in one contest.

“I’d say fifth-to-seventh round,” Kiper said of Patterson’s draft possibilities. “There’s some pretty good depth at running back this year. All these running backs that we give a second round grade will drop to the third. The third rounders will drop to the fourth round. Because of all the production, you could have running backs that don’t go in the first round. We see that every year. Second and third round running backs do a great job. I think with Patterson now, you don’t see him that early. You see him more as a number-two back, I’d say with a fifth to seventh round grade.”

Kiper also said UB edge rusher Malcolm Koonce could also be a Day 3 draft choice.

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