The club has higher hopes for the Buffalo product than simply making the team.
"I think Jaret can be pretty special," general manager Martin Mayhew said Tuesday, per the team's official transcript. "He's got a ways to go. Obviously, the young player did not have a great game that third game, but we saw a lot those first two games that was very promising from him. He's an explosive guy. He has really good vision. He brings a lot to the table. He reminds me a lot of when we had some guys here. Ricky Ervins, who I played with, former teammate of mine, Jamie Morris, former teammate of mine. Both those guys were built low to the ground, hard to tackle. Both of them had really great vision acceleration. That's what Jaret can squirt through the hole. and a lot of times, the linebackers can't find them behind the offensive line.
"He brings a lot to the table. He's going to be fun to watch this year. Hopefully, he continues to grow and develop as a player."
The first two preseason games cinched a roster spot for Patterson. He impressed with sharp cuts and pure vision, generating 166 total scrimmage yards in the two games.
In three years at the University of Buffalo, Patterson compiled 3,884 rushing yards -- including 1,799 in 2019. However, he didn't get much pass-catching action (zero catches in 2020 and just 20 for his entire college career). Washington actively put Patterson in situations that called for him to test his hands. He caught all seven of his targets the first two games before suffering a couple of drops in the third.
Antonio Gibson is the clear leader in the Washington backfield. His dual-threat ability should keep him on the field for three downs, and he'll get the bulk of the workload. We also know that the Football Team loves what J.D. McKissic brings to the table as a pass-catcher. But if Gibson were to suffer an injury, expect Patterson to be the next in line to get the early-down carries.
We've seen undrafted rookie running backs play prominent roles before -- Phillip Lindsay in Denver and James Robinson last year in Jacksonville, to name two. Barring injury, Patterson projects as a sub who will take a couple of carries a week and work on special teams. But if Gibson has to miss any time, it would be Patterson's time to shine.