Going Undrafted Will Always Fuel Washington RB, Pallotti Grad Jaret Patterson

Running back Jaret Patterson, a graduate of St. Vincent Pallotti High School and native of Glenn Dale, Md., made the Washington Football Team’s 53-man roster thanks to his productive preseason … but after going undrafted in the spring, he vows to never be satisfied no matter how successful he turns out to be.

The 5-foot-7, 195-pound Patterson opened the preseason with 10 carries for 40 yards and four catches for 30 yards against the New England Patriots. He then had 16 carries for 71 yards and a score and caught three passes for 25 yards a week later against the Cincinnati Bengals. He caught three passes for 15 yards against the Baltimore Ravens to close out the preseason.

Patterson was one of three running backs to make Washington’s initial 53-man roster along with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. But don’t expect Patterson to feel like he’s truly made it in the NFL.

“I will never get satisfied,” Patterson said on Glenn Clark Radio Aug. 27 before officially making the roster. “When success comes my way, when I taste success, I will always have something to fall back on. ‘Man, you weren’t drafted, so you’ve still got to keep working.’ I feel like I can [turn] that into a positive thing and that’s what I’m going to do. Hopefully, God willing, I’m four years into this thing, I’ll be like, ‘Man, you still have work to do. You went undrafted.’ I can use that as fuel throughout my career.”

Based on the numbers he put up at Buffalo, it’s no surprise Patterson was a breakout performer for Washington during the preseason. He rushed for 3,884 yards and 52 touchdowns for the Bulls from 2018-2020. He ran for 409 yards and eight touchdowns in a 70-41 win against Kent State last year.

But as a small running back from the MAC, Patterson went undrafted. So he had to take the more difficult route to cracking an NFL roster, something he embraced.

“I’m just here to prove myself right that I belong, that the people that made those decisions were completely wrong,” Patterson said. “I’m just a guy that’s proving himself right that he belongs at this level. That’s really it. It’s nothing special. I just put my head down and work, take advantage of every opportunity I get. This story is just beginning.”

And it didn’t hurt that Washington turned out to be a perfect fit for Patterson. He’s close to home. His friends and family can easily watch him play. He grew up rooting for the team. He has a chance to inspire young players around the DMV.

In fact, he won the MIAA C Conference title at Pallotti in 2014 with Washington star defensive end Chase Young, who transferred to DeMatha Catholic after that season. Patterson’s former coaches at Pallotti attended Washington’s game against the Bengals to see him play.

“It’s just a blessing, a blessing to be here,” Patterson said. “A lot of guys don’t get to do what I do — play for their hometown team.”

He’s also thankful for how Washington’s other running backs — Gibson, McKissic and Peyton Barber, who was cut from the 53-man roster but re-signed to the practice squad — helped him out during his first NFL training camp. The team will almost certainly need contributions from all of them during the 17-game regular season. Washington kicks off its season against the Los Angeles Chargers Sept. 12.

“I feel like it’s a friendly competition. Everybody’s trying to get better and help each other get better,” Patterson said. “It’s not like any greed or jealousy. Everybody’s going to get the opportunity. It’s the NFL. It’s football. Everybody’s going to get the opportunity. It’s what you do when you get the opportunity when it’s presented to you.”

Update: The Las Vegas Raiders signed Peyton Barber off of Washington’s practice squad Sept. 3.

For more from Patterson, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Luke Jackson

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