Pros: Big, physical receiver who comes off the line with burst and authority. Will win physical battles that other receivers simply aren't equipped to. Has a great frame for an 'A'-level receiver -- good musculature, strong upper body. Blocks well to help with run support -- sporadically with his technique, but almost like a tight end at times. Runs straight-line routes with outstanding glide and gets up to top speed (which is very impressive for his size) in a hurry. Has a natural ability to move and cut in traffic that makes him a potential yards-after-catch nightmare for every defenses. Not afraid to grab the pass in traffic when he know he's going to get hit. Drives upfield after the short and intermediate catch and uses his physical nature to bull through tackles. Plants and cuts well on drive routes (slants, in-cuts, drags).
Can be a real factor in the return game, where his combination of size, speed, and agility really show up. Reads the action in front of him well and cuts decisively to get away from tacklers. Has that final gear to excel as a deep returner, as well as a deep seam and boundary receiver. Dynamic red zone target who understands how to get his body in front of defenders quickly in short spaces. Has the physical characteristics to play the "X" spot as the isolated receiver, but may really shine as a "Z" at the next level, where he can take coverage off the top and open things up for other targets. Rushing ability will transfer to the NFL and could make him an interesting multi-formation player.
Cons: Patterson's lack of high-level experience shows up very clearly in his lack of overall route development and awareness, and this isn't an issue that can be corrected overnight. Played in a simple, mostly single-read offense, which stunted his development. Doesn't always transition well to catch out of quick-breaking routes, which seems to be more a function of concentration and technique, because he will catch balls in traffic. The eye-to-hands connection is a work in progress, and he'll suffer lapses in concentration and ball security as a result.
What he brings to the team: Everything but route awareness. There are times on tape where he appears virtually uncoverable, and it's relatively easy to put some of the blame for the bad plays on a basic offensive system, a lack of experience, and a highly erratic quarterback. In the right system, and under a coaching staff who will not expect too much from him right away in the route-running department, Patterson could be a rookie impact player. And especially in this system, he's a perfect replacement for Percy Harvin.
Was it the right pick? The Vikings have won the draft so far, and by trading back into the first round to nab Patterson, they've gone all in.
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