The New York Jets signed running back Jacques Patrick to their practice squad a few weeks ago. He hasn’t been elevated yet, but he could be someone they consider adding to the active roster this weekend, or signing to a futures deal after the season. Today we’re going to break Patrick down in detail.
The 26-year old Patrick is listed at 6’2” and 231 pounds and was undrafted out of Florida State in 2019. He has played in two NFL games in his career, rushing twice for 12 yards. The Jets are his seventh NFL team. He’s also had two stints in the XFL.
Patrick was a four-star high school recruit and enrolled at Florida State, where he backed up Dalvin Cook in his first two seasons. Despite only starting one game, Patrick had a 100-yard rushing performance in each of his first two seasons and scored nine touchdowns on the ground.
In 2017, he started nine games and rushed for a career-best 748 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing a couple of games due to injury. He also caught a career high 21 passes.
Patrick returned for his senior year, but his production was down as he averaged a career low 3.5 yards per carry. He also only scored two touchdowns, although one was his first career touchdown catch.
Patrick was a combine snub, didn’t get drafted and wasn’t signed as an undrafted free agent, but he ended up getting drafted by the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers ahead of the 2020 season. He posted a 100-yard game with them and averaged 4.2 yards per carry with two touchdowns.
The Cincinnati Bengals, having been impressed with Patrick’s XFL performance, signed him ahead of the 2020 NFL season. Patrick went to camp with the Bengals and ended up on their practice squad after final cuts. Having signed again on a futures deal for 2021, he was again released on final cuts and signed to the practice squad, but this time the San Francisco 49ers poached him during the season.
He spent three weeks on the 49ers’ roster and three more on the practice squad, making his NFL debut and then playing in a second game with them. He was released from the practice squad after that and spent time on the practice squads for the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens before the end of the season.
In 2022, Patrick once again went to camp with the Bengals after signing with them in July, but he was released in final cuts.
Having not signed with any team’s roster or practice squad during the 2022 season, Patrick went back to the XFL to play for the San Antonio Brahmas and ended up second in the league in rushing. He also caught 30 passes.
After briefly spending time with the Denver Broncos, Patrick joined the Tennessee Titans in preseason, but he was released in final cuts. He spent a few weeks on their practice squad but was without a team when the Jets picked him up last month.
Now let’s take a look at what Patrick brings to the table, divided into categories.
Patrick is a big back, so his underwhelming workout numbers are perhaps not as bad as they seem. He ran a 4.69 in the 40-yard dash and posted below average strength, agility and explosiveness numbers for the position.
While he has primarily lined up in the backfield, Patrick has had some snaps out wide, in the slot, as an h-back, as part of the two-back set and as a wildcat quarterback. He attempted to throw one pass in college, drawing a pass interference penalty.
Patrick is a power back rather than a speedster, who operates with a direct north-south style.
He doesn’t break a lot of long runs, with 69 being his longest in his college career, but no other 50-yarders and only two others for more than 40. He also didn’t have a single 40-yarder at the NFL or XFL level. However, while he lacks breakaway speed, Patrick showcases some quick feet.
While he isn’t particularly creative, elusive or flashy, Patrick displays impressive power and the ability to make yards after contact and fall forward at the end of a run.
He has proven capable of carrying a heavy workload, with four 100-yard games in college and one in the XFL. His highest number of carries in a college game was 24.
Patrick has been consistent in terms of his production at all levels, as he’s averaged 4.5 yards per carry in preseason action and four yards per carry in the XFL. While he only averaged 3.5 in his final college season, he had averaged five or more in each of his first three.
He has big hands, but he fumbled five times in college and once in the XFL. He has no fumbles in NFL regular season or preseason action though.
Patrick had 17 rushing touchdowns in college, two in the XFL and three in NFL preseason action, most of which came on short yardage plays. He also picked up four on 2nd-and-2 on one of his two NFL regular season touches.
His power makes him tough to bring down in short yardage situations, but he also displays some finesse and a nose for the goal line.
Patrick has worked hard to develop his pass catching skills. He had just 10 catches in his first two seasons at FSU, but then his production improved over his last two years. It was basically all on screens and checkdowns, although he did impress on this one-handed catch and run.
He’s shown some development since leaving FSU though. Here’s a play where he lines up wide and runs an in-breaking route for the catch.
On this play, he was open downfield when the quarterback rolled out after again having lined up on the outside.
When you do get the ball to him in space, he’s proven to be capable of picking up good yardage at all levels.
Patrick only had a couple of drops in college, two more at the XFL level and one in preseason action.
Patrick has plenty of experience of staying in to pass protect and has done well, with low pressure rates at every level and no sacks surrendered.
With his size and power, he could be a candidate to bulk up even more and play as a fullback, but this isn’t something he’s done so far.
Patrick has played a variety of roles on special teams over the course of his career, seeing the most action as a blocker on the kick return unit. He has no return experience though.
He’s also covered kicks, with one tackle in preseason action, and he even rushed some punts in the XFL. He had one special teams penalty at the XFL level.
Although he has a direct style, Patrick’s vision and decision making is pretty good. He has the awareness to cut back or bounce outside.
His instincts are also good as an outlet receiver in terms of leaking to open areas and when picking up blitzes. He also hasn’t had issues with blown assignments or pre-snap penalties.
According to Jimbo Fisher, Patrick emerged as a leader in 2017 and the team was pleased he decided to return for his 2018 season.
He has shown a positive attitude to being a combine snub and determination to keep finding jobs despite being released several times, as well as some good toughness.
On the field, Patrick has shown good discipline with just one offensive penalty in his entire college and pro career. He will also lower his shoulder to finish runs aggressively.
Patrick hasn’t had many injury issues in his career, but he did miss two games with a knee injury in 2017. He returned earlier than expected and scored a touchdown against Clemson in his return game.
The Jets bring in a lot of versatile backs, and Patrick doesn’t necessarily fit that mold, although he has definitely improved his versatility since stepping up to the pro level.
Backs with a direct style are always welcome, and his ability to pass protect and potentially be a useful short yardage option could be valuable if he’s called into action.
In addition to being a teammate of Cook’s at FSU, Patrick has also previously played with current Jets Chuck Clark, Carl Lawson, CJ Uzomah, Xavier Newman and Laken Tomlinson.
With the Jets having released Cook on Tuesday, it’s not impossible the Jets could look to elevate Patrick or Xazavian Valladay off the practice squad for the last game.
If Patrick has shown the team anything over the past few weeks, there’s a good chance he could be back on a futures deal and invited to training camp next year.
The Jets have been healthy this year at running back, but it’s not uncommon for a team to have to go five, six or seven-deep at the position, so if Patrick can have a decent camp and preseason with the Jets next year, he might be a candidate to make the practice squad and get a chance to contribute at some point.