If the Steelers decide to eschew the bigger-name running backs from the football-factory universities in search of the next Doug Martin, they would do well to consider Stefphon Jefferson from Nevada. The junior back is coming off a breakout year in which he finished second in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with 1,883 yards while also adding 24 touchdowns.
As a result, some draft prognosticators are comparing Jefferson to Alfred Morris, who came to the Redskins last year from the lightly regarded Florida Atlantic University. Morris finished second in the NFL in rushing last season with more than 1,600 rushing yards.
At 5’11” and 210 lbs. with a 4.53 40-yard dash time, Jefferson has the physical tools to be a successful NFL running back. His size and speed allowed him to pick up first downs on 53.1 of his third-down carries. Thanks to his power, he was even more effective on third-and-short. With less than three yards to go, Jefferson gained the required yards on 16-of-27 attempts (59.3 percent).
His stats also indicate that he has what it takes to be a workhorse in the NFL. Jefferson gained six percent more yards in the second half of 2012 games than he did in the first halves. Even more striking was the Nevada star’s production in the fourth quarter. After averaging 4.91 yards per carry in the first three quarters of each game, Jefferson ran for 5.68 yards per rush in the final frame.