Undrafted rookie running back Jaret Patterson turned in an impressive debut for Washington in their preseason opener against the Patriots. He was even good enough to earn a comparison to a potential Hall of Famer.
"He's a small dude but he's got a lot of toughness and he's really quick," quarterback Taylor Heinicke said after the game. "If you go back and watch the tape of Darren Sproles back in the day, [Patterson] reminds me a lot of him."
Sproles is the best "small" running back in NFL history. Despite a 5'6", 190-pound frame, Sproles racked up over 8,300 yards from scrimmage and 64 total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, returns) during a 14-year career.
Patterson is three inches taller than Sproles and has a very long way to go to earn that comparison, but there are certainly similarities in each player's skillset.
Patterson accumulated 40 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards on 10 carries and four catches respectively. He didn't get any time as a return-man, but Ron Rivera said he wants to give Patterson a chance in that realm too.
With Antonio Gibson getting limited time in the first preseason game, Patterson looked like Washington's best running back. His spot on the 53-man roster remains uncertain as an undrafted free agent, but Thursday night was a good start.
"He's really quick, can make people miss and when you get the ball in his hands it's really exciting to watch," Heinicke said.