NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson
|04.02.13 at 7:08 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that might be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 216 pounds
Achievements: 2012 All-SEC first team, 2012 All-America first team (all-purpose player), 2012 All-SEC second team (return specialist), school-record 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012
What he brings: In a draft class without a true top-10 prospect at any of the skill positions, Patterson is easily the one with the highest ceiling and raw physical toolbox. In addition to his school record 1,858 all-purpose yards, near-prototypical frame and the fact that he was the first player since 2008 to score a touchdown four different ways (receiving, rushing, punt return, kick return), Patterson has shone brightly in workouts, running a solid 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.
The bright side: Patterson is big, is fast and will burn defenders downfield. Once he’s down there, he has the athleticism and strength to fight for position and can make the tough catches. Patterson also presents great value in his ability to return punts and kicks and is be a fiend in the open field once he gets the ball in his hands.
The downside: The Tennessee product will dazzle fans and embody the deep threat they’ve been clamoring for. However, he is by no means a possession receiver yet and has a long way to go in many areas of his game. With only one season at the FBS level under his belt, Patterson is still raw in terms of his route-running, blocking and ability to beat physical coverage, especially from some of the more elite defensive backs he’ll face in the pros. He’s a long way away from being a go-to guy.
Is he a deep threat? Yes. Is he Randy Moss? Nope. Still, Patterson may emerge as the most productive receiver from this draft class. That is if he can get past the initial growing pains.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1, likely through a trade
Notes: We call a lot of players in a given draft raw. But, if Cordarrelle Patterson was steak, even the biggest fan of a bloody cut of meat would send him back to the chef for some more time over the grill.
The former No. 1 junior college prospect in the country spent just one season with the Volunteers before turning pro, a move that acts as both a testament to his physical skill set and a Surgeon General’s warning to avoid raw meat — so to speak. Still, many experts, including NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, have Patterson as the top receiver in the draft.
When he first arrived at Knoxville, Patterson was expected to sit at third on a stacked depth chart at wide receiver. Although, that was before Da’Rick Rogers was dismissed from the team. After working his way into the lineup, Patterson emerged as a star whose physical gifts helped him overcome his shortcomings in technique. Often, the Vols would line him up off the line of scrimmage so as to avoid exposing him to more physical coverage (something the Patriots would have no trouble doing in their spread concept).
With Justin Hunter lined up on the other side of the field and Tyler Bray at quarterback — both are projected to be high draft picks — Patterson had a great situation in Tennessee. While that success may translate well should he end up in an offense that’s looking to just add a deep threat, Patterson may struggle if he’s expected to be The Guy with a lesser offense (i.e. the Jets).
Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Patterson’s 2012 season.