Patterson is the favorite to be the first wide receiver selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. One way or another, he certainly has the most upside of any of them, but let’s take a closer look at the electric pass-catcher.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
While he may not be as polished as Keenan Allen, Patterson has elite potential. After setting scores of records at Hutchinson C.C., he transferred from the junior college circuit to Tennessee. While his season was plagued with inconsistencies, most notably lapses in concentration and drops, Patterson scored touchdowns in 4 different ways (5 receiving, 3 rushing, 1 punt return, 1 kickoff return). If nothing else, he’s a playmaker.
Worried that Percy Harvin won’t be with the team for the 2013 season, many Minnesota Vikings fans want Patterson as a replacement. Right now, it doesn’t appear he’ll fall that far, but it appears on paper that the two have similar games. Patterson is not only a fast receiver, however, but he stands 6’3″ with an excellent, very long 205 lb. build. He’s very effective in using his frame to box out cornerbacks, evidenced by his productivity on short and intermediate routes.
Right off the snap, you can see Patterson’s talents on display. He has good acceleration, footwork, change of direction and elusiveness. He’s a hands-catcher, and after he gets the ball, he shows off his ability to read would-be tacklers and make them miss. He plays with an abundance of confidence, and is very hard for one man to bring down. More evident on deep passes is good body control, as well as an intense physicality downfield. However, he’s gotten away with a lot of push-offs at the college level, and shouldn’t count on getting calls in the pros. Patterson is also an extremely raw, often lazy route runner.
Patterson has shown off elite return potential in 2012, averaging almost 27 yards per kickoff return. He only returned 4 punts, but took 1 to the house. But both in the return game and on offense, he doesn’t really follow his blockers, which occasionally results in short gains, or him getting lit up by a tackler.
Patterson has a bit of DeSean Jackson in him, and I mean that in both the best and the worst way. The most debatable aspect of his game is his hands, and whether they’re a huge weakness, or whether Tyler Bray’s cannon arm is to blame. I certainly don’t give Patterson the benefit of the doubt there, but regardless, I think his potential is too much to ignore. He is going to require good coaching at the next level. Otherwise, like many prospects in this draft, he will be a bust. But there have been a lot of supposedly safe receivers in years past who did nothing in the NFL. I’d be more willing to take a chance on a wideout like Patterson.