Seventh Round: 228th Pick
Very few players come out after only two seasons of college football, but that's exactly what Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison did, despite finishing the season banged up with an ankle injury. Should he have stayed in school to improve his stock, or did Jamison show enough in college to entice a team into spending a high pick on him?
Jamison is a hard-charging back with a low center of gravity and great lower body strength and balance. He runs with outstanding determination and tremendous stamina at the end of games. He gets low and churns his legs upon contact, and is surprisingly elusive in the open field. Jamison is also a solid receiver for a workhorse-minded back.
Jamison has below-average quickness, speed and initial burst. He is only good at making moves at the second level and beyond and gets caught in the backfield almost every time that there is penetration. Jamison is an ineffective back when he is going parallel to the line of scrimmage, and it appears that his production came via volume in college.
Jamison is a squatty 5'7", 203-pound back with small 8 3/8" hands. His 4.68 40-time matches his subpar burst on film, and his 29" vertical was the worst among running backs at the combine. Other than a thick, powerful lower body, Jamison has no real plus physical traits.
Jamison came out early to help his mother, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. There are no known character issues in his past, and Jamison generally plays with maximum effort and energy. He had four straight games with at least 28 carries last year, all Rutgers wins.
Jamison is as comfortable following a lead-blocking fullback as he is running about a shotgun formation. He was a true workhorse back who played on all three downs and led his offense.
Jamison exhibits good patience before identifying holes and sharply getting north-south to hit them with urgency. He sees cutback lanes and also processes tacklers at the second level early enough to put moves on them before they get within reach. Jamison generally prefers to cut upfield, and is always looking to get downhill.
As an adequate to good receiver out of the backfield and very good pass blocker, Jamison can stay on the field in any situation. He has reliable hands, and Jamison's somewhat negligible quickness is more effective in the open field. Jamison lands blows with a good jolt as a blocker, and his build helps him establish an excellent base.
Between the Tackles
This is one of the best parts of Jamison's game. He rarely tries to bust runs outside, which is wise, because Jamison lacks the burst and speed to get to the corner. He isn't afraid to run in tight quarters and will take what's there when the defense doesn't give him room to run. Jamison's build can help him get lost behind blockers and emerge to put a tackler on his heels at the second level.
There are two pictures of Jamison when it comes to elusiveness. At or behind the line of scrimmage, Jamison is not going to make many tacklers miss. He sometimes doesn't even attempt to elude penetrating defenders, and he is just not light enough on his feet to make subtle adjustments as he hits the hole.
In the open field, Jamison is very good at setting a tackler up and pulling the rug out from under him. Jamison is not phone-booth quick, but he understands how to get a tackler to put his weight to one side or the other, and then use that against him. Jamison has a spin move, but his best strategy is when he jab steps to one step and then crisply cuts back off of that step. Jamison has to execute these moves a few yards before he encounters his opponent to make them work.
Jamison's determination and effort will overwhelm a tackler at times, and his leg drive helps shed weak tackle attempts. A combination of a naturally low pad level and strong lower body helps Jamison get extra yards after initial contact.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Although Jamison was a quality three-down back in college, it's hard to picture him being more than the third-most physically talented running back on his NFL team. He projects as depth and a special teams contributor at the next level, but he could be productive if injuries ever get him on the field for a power running team.