Against all odds, Jaret Patterson did the damn thing. One of the unlikeliest people to even make it this far, and Patterson made a 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie.
On Tuesday, NFL teams had to make their final cuts to formalize their respective rosters as the season begins. Washington Football Team kept three running backs after its final cuts: Andontio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and the 2020 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year.
“This gets me teary-eyed, even talking about it right now,” James, a linebacker for the Bulls, told the News, after UB’s practice Tuesday at Murchie Family Fieldhouse. “Just to see him do what he does, every single day, and handle it like a pro, it’s amazing. That motivation is so high for me right now. This is more fuel to the fire.”
Jaret Patterson made the professional cut with Washington after three seasons with UB. In three preseason games with WFT, Patterson had 28 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, and 10 catches for 70 yards.“
That’s a blessing,” UB running back Kevin Marks said of Patterson making Washington’s 53-man roster. “But it’s not a shock to me. His work ethic, how he worked day in and day out at UB, just knowing it was going to translate. How we practiced, how we went about our business. The discipline. Knowing that the highs, we don’t really celebrate the highs. It’s back to work the next day, that’s our mentality.”-Rachel Lenzi (The Buffalo News)
Against all odds, Patterson has made it. His twin brother, James, is the one that coaches wanted to offer a scholarship to. Not Jaret. They insisted to coaches that they’d both have to get offers to really consider the school, but nobody bit. Nobody except Lance Leipold saw that the undersized (5’7) running back out of St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.) could actually be a perfect fit.
His [greyshirt] freshman year in 2018, Patterson rushed for 1,013 yards and scored 14 TD, then followed up with 1,799 rush yards and 19 TD as a sophomore. In the pandemic-shortened year, Patterson played in six games, picked up 1,072 yards (averaged 7.6 yards per carry) and was still able to pick up 19 TD. Against Kent State in 2020, Patterson did the incredibly legendary thing by rushing for 409 yards on 36 carries (average of 11.4 yards per carry) and scored 8 TD — second-most rushing yards in a single NCAA game by an individual, and tied the NCAA record for touchdowns. Having rushed for over 300 yards the week before, he was the second college player in NCAA history with consecutive 300-yard games.
After a career 3,884 yards and 52 TD through 32 games, Patterson made the business decision of declaring early for the NFL Draft. He went undrafted after 18 other backs heard their names called, and ended up signing with the Washington Football Team — Patterson’s childhood team.
“I try to hold myself to a high standard. I’m my worst critic,” Patterson said postgame on Saturday. “There are some things from all three games [that] I could’ve done better. That’s the beautiful thing about this game, you can always continue to get better.”
“I’m the type of guy that’s never satisfied with my performance,” Patterson said. “That’s what I’m going to do from here on out, just keep getting better at everything I do.”-Ethan Cadeaux (NBC Sports Washington)
Now it’s time to get excited, for real, about Patterson’s pro career. There are still odds stacked against him, but he passes his first major test. Four-five years ago, college coaches just did not trust Patterson to be their future running back. With Tuesday’s roster cuts, Washington did not validate what those college coaches thought Patterson could’ve been. Instead, Washington validated what Patterson saw in himself all those years ago.
MORE NFL ROSTER MAKES
TE, Tyree Jackson
He finally did it! The 2018 MAC Offensive Player of the Year for being Buffalo’s oversized quarterback (6’7, 240ish) never made it in the league at that position, and only made it as far as being the backup to Cardale Jones in the XFL — a league that was shut down due to the pandemic. He switched positions when the Philadelphia Eagles invited him to try out as a tight end, and now he’s on the team’s 53-man.
QB, Logan Woodside
Woodside was the MAC’s MVP in 2017 when he won a MAC Championship for Toledo. Woodside was drafted 249th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018, and missed out on making the roster then, and ended up on Tennessee’s practice squad that year. In 2019, Woodside was the starting QB for the San Antonio Commanders (AAF). That league shut down, so Woodside re-signed with the Titans to be on its practice squad in April of 2019, then signed a reserve/future contract with the team in January 2020.
In 2020, Woodside was able to get into six games for Tennessee, completing one of three passes for seven yards.
QB, Cooper Rush
Cooper Rush, in his fifth season in the league with only three career pass attempts to look back on, made the Cowboys’ roster with two other QBs getting cuSt by the team. Rush will be Dak Prescott’s backup.
Here are all of the MAC player who made their respective team’s 53-man rosters this year:
- LB, Ulysees Gilbert III (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Third season.
- LB, Justin March-Lillard (Tennessee Titans) — Seventh season.
- OG, Danny Pinter (Indianapolis Colts) — Second season.
- WR, Willie Snead IV (Las Vegas Raiders) — Seventh season.
- WR, Scotty Miller (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) — Third year.
- TE, Tyree Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles) — First season.
- DE, Malcolm Koonce (Las Vegas Raiders) — Rookie season, third-round draft pick.
- LB, Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears) — Eighth season.
- LB, Steven Means (Atlanta Falcons) — Seventh season.
- RB, Jaret Patterson (Washington Football Team) — Undrafted rookie.
- FB, Nick Bellore (Seattle Seahawks) — 11th season.
- WR, Antonio Brown (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) — 11th season.
- TE, Tyler Conklin (Minnesota Vikings) — Fourth season.
- CB, Xavier Crawford (Chicago Bears) — Second season.
- OT, Eric Fisher (Indianapolis Colts) — Ninth season.
- CB, Sean Murphy-Bunting (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) — Third season.
- LB, Joe Ostman (Philadelphia Eagles) — Second season.
- QB, Cooper Rush (Dallas Cowboys) — Fifth season.
- RB, Jonathan Ward (Arizona Cardinals) — Second season.
- DE, Maxx Crosby (Oakland Raiders) — Third season.
- DE, Pat O’Connor (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) — Third season.
- OG, Andrew Wylie (Kansas City Chiefs) — Fourth season.
- OG, Brian Winters (Arizona Cardinals) — Ninth season.
- OG, Brandon Brooks (Philadelphia Eagles) — Tenth season.
- OT, Tommy Doyle (Buffalo Bills) — Rookie season, fifth-round draft pick.
- QB, Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers) — 18th season.
- WR, Chad Beebe (Minnesota Vikings) — Fourth season. Currently on injury reserve (foot surgery)
- WR, Christian Blake (Atlanta Falcons) — Third season.
- WR, Kenny Golladay (New York Giants) — Fifth season.
- OL, Max Scharping (Houston Texans) — Third season.
- CB, Jimmie Ward (San Francisco 49ers) — Eighth season.
- DE, Tarell Basham (Dallas Cowboys) — Fifth season.
- S, T.J. Carrie (Indianapolis Colts) — Eighth season.
- LB, Ola Adeniyi (Tennessee Titans) — Fourth season.
- FB, Reggie Gilliam (Buffalo Bills) — Second season.
- DT, Treyvon Hester (Buffalo Bills) — Fourth season.
- RB, Kareem Hunt (Cleveland Browns) — Fifth season.
- WR, Diontae Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Third season.
- P, Brett Kern (Tennessee Titans) — 14th season.
- OG, Greg Mancz (Miami Dolphins) — Seventh season. Recently traded to Miami from Baltimore.
- OT, Storm Norton (Los Angeles Chargers) — Second season.
- QB, Logan Woodside (Tennessee Titans) — Second season.
- CB, Sam Beal (New York Giants) — Third season.
- WR, Corey Davis (New York Jets) — Fifth season, first with Jets, fifth-overall draft pick in 2017.
- WR, Dee Eskridge (Seattle Seahawks) — Rookie season, third-round draft pick.
- OG, Jaylon Moore (San Francisco 49ers) — Rookie season, fifth-round draft pick.
- OT, Taylor Moton (Carolina Panthers) — Fifth season.
- OT, Chukwuma Okorafor (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Fourth season.
- CB, Darius Phillips (Cincinnati Bengals) — Fourth season.
- FB, Giovanni Ricci (Carolina Panthers) — First season.
- LB, Robert Spillane (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Third season.
MAC PLAYERS CUT
An early note for all, and it’s pretty obvious if you’ve read through all the names above: this isn’t the end of the road for all of these guys. The odds of coming close to making an NFL roster are insane, and not making a 53-man roster one year doesn’t mean that there’s not a reason to still believe in yourself moving forward.
Here are the MAC players who just missed their respective team’s cuts (waived, released) leading up to the 2021 season’s kickoff.
- WR, JoJo Natson (Cleveland Browns)
- RB, Caleb Huntley (Atlanta Falcons) — Undrafted rookie.
- CB, Antonio Phillips (Cincinnati Bengals) — Undrafted rookie.
- TE, Quintin Morris (Buffalo Bills) — Undrafted rookie.
- OT, Kayode Awosika (Philadelphia Eagles) — Undrafted rookie.
- TE, Tyler Mabry (Seattle Seahawks)
- DE, Ledarius Mack (Chicago Bears)
- WR, Antonio Nunn (Atlanta Falcons) — Undrafted rookie.
- TE, Mason Schreck (Cincinnati Bengals)
- S, Kavon Frazier (Cincinnati Bengals)
- WR, Mathew Sexton (Pittsburgh Steelers)
- S, Nate Holley (Miami Dolphins)
- WR, Isaiah McKoy (Pittsburgh Steelers) — Undrafted rookie.
- CB, Manny Rugamba (Cleveland Browns) — Undrafted rookie.
- TE, Daniel Crawford (Green Bay Packers) — Undrafted rookie.
- FB, Sutton Smith (New Orleans Saints)
- OT, Jordan Steckler (Houston Texans)
- S, Javon Hagan (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- OL, Austen Pleasants (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- LB, Quentin Poling (New Orleans Saints)
- CB, Ka’dar Hollman (Houston Texans)
- WR, Jon’Vea Johnson (Chicago Bears)
- LB, Tuzar Skipper (Atlanta Falcons)
- WR, Cody Thompson (Seattle Seahawks)
- OL, Willie Beavers (Atlanta Falcons) — On team’s practice squad.
- RB, LeVante Bellamy (Denver Broncos)