Scouting Report:  Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

By: Pete Davidson : April 12, 2013 9:57pm

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Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson has taken a long road to stardom. He put in two years at Hutchinson Community College before leaving for Tennessee where he spent just a single season.  A very electrifying single season which saw Patterson making plays and scoring touchdowns in most every way imaginable.

There’s no hiding this guy’s ability. It’s right there on film. Even a marginally trained pair of football eyes will pop from their sockets when #84 starts blowing past defenders leaving a trail of broken ankles in his wake. However, despite Patterson’s impressive highlight reel, there are some detractors out there.

Ever since Patterson started making the rounds as a trendy riser on draft day, the reports of weaknesses started popping up. There are two that you hear more than any other. First, he only played one season at a high level. That’s very true, but why should we lower his value based on this? After all, Patterson proved himself in that single season by beating plenty of players that will be on NFL rosters in the near future.

The second knock is about routes and an apparent lack of understanding of the playbook. This one is as specious as it is predictable. Why? Because this kid is so talented, that even a limited route-tree would be effective and that assumes the criticism to be accurate in the first place. We’re not sure that it is. It’s predictable because we’ve seen this stuff with JUCO transfers many times before. There is a stigma when you go to junior college.

Cam Newton still had doubters after being selected with the top pick. The important thing to understand, as far as we are concerned, is that the doubters create opportunity for the rest of us. They do it by holding costs down. Cam Newton, against all logic, was still available in most leagues after his first game as a rookie. I shouted it from the rooftops that he should not be, and yet, there I was after Week 2, shouting still. So, the fact that Patterson has detractors can be a good thing if you are targeting him in dynasty leagues or even redraft formats.

Let’s address the knocks on Patterson more directly. Is he too inexperienced? I don’t think so. That is not to say he has the optimum amount of college time, but to say that he is too inexperienced, to me, is to say he should not be taken high, or taken as the first receiver off the board. I can’t say that, since I think he absolutely should be.

Look at it this way. Is there a receiver as talented as Patterson, but with more experience? Our answer is a big no. Ok, so we don’t have a clean decision here. You will be compromising one way or the other. Lastly, the team that drafts Patterson will be able to give him the coaching and experience that he currently lacks. You can’t do the same thing with a lack of talent.

So what about the knocks on his routes and his general knowledge? The easy answer is that none of these things kept Tennessee from using all of his abilities. Perhaps his routes would have come along faster if he wasn’t also getting snaps as a tailback, not to mention trick plays that featured Patterson throwing deep balls. In this case, the criticism, though it may have some merit, is not fully aligned with the evidence on tape. If the folks at Tennessee thought Patterson was less than smart, why did they put so much on his plate? And, why did the player succeed?

What we like about Patterson...

  • He’s a prototypical athlete for the position at 6’2” and 216 pounds.
  • He has the speed to go with the size. Patterson clocked a 4.42 40 time at the combine and loses very little in pads. Patterson has highly functional speed.
  • He makes people miss in space and in confined areas too. Patterson is a phenomenal threat in the open field. He combines the power, agility and vision that can break big plays at any time.
  • He breaks arm tackles without getting knocked off his base.
  • He elevates and fights for the ball.
  • He has the ability to catch the ball with his hands. He’s not just a body catcher.
  • He’s versatile. He can run, catch, throw and he can contribute significantly in the return game.

The thing that scares the experts about Patterson is that they’ve never seen anything quite like him before. He does things at 6’2” that very few players can--if any. Some of the experts just don’t know what to make of him. Does he not fit the mold or has he busted out of the mold? These analysts would prefer not to put their reputation on the line by backing a player with no track record that they can’t get a good handle on. For those of you who have been reading Rotobahn, you know we do our level best not to cop out on the big players and the big questions.

It’s our opinion, that most of the teams that pass on Cordarrelle Patterson will regret it.

Most collegiate receivers have a growth curve in the NFL. Patterson will have one. That doesn’t make him a bad pick in the NFL Draft or in your dynasty league.

We’ll obviously have more exact redraft and dynasty values for Patterson once we know where he’s playing, but we love this kid. If there is as much risk as his detractors are saying, we still think it’s risk worth taking, because his potential is that immense.

So let people talk about Patterson’s risk factors while you target him in dynasty leagues. Here’s a look at his 2012 highlight reel.

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