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Triple Threat: Vikings Use Third First Round Pick On WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Posted Apr 25, 2013

PHOTO GALLERY: Cordarelle Patterson Arrives at Winter Park >>
VIDEO: Combine Workout: Cordarrelle Patterson >>
VIDEO: First Draft: Cordarrelle Patterson >>
VIDEO: Mike Mayock 1-on-1 With Cordarrelle Patterson >>
VIDEO: One-On-One with Cordarelle Patterson >>
VIDEO: Intro Presser - "The Vikings Believe In Me" >>
VIDEO: Cordarelle Patterson Highlights and Draft Profile >>
VIDEO: Vikings Pick Cordarrelle Patterson No. 29 Overall >>
VIDEO: Fan Pass - Patterson Does The Draft In Style >>
VIDEO: Fan Pass: Patterson Shoots A Commercial >>
PHOTO GALLERY: New Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson >>

OVERVIEW
The road to Tennessee was not very glamorous for Cordarrelle Patterson (pronounced "CORE-dare-uhl"). After a solid 2008 high school season that put him on college teams' radars, Patterson did not play football in 2009 while at North Carolina Tech. In 2010, Patterson enrolled at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, where he broke numerous school records and became the top ranked JUCO product in the nation. After choosing Tennessee, Patterson was expected to line up as the school's third receiver, but after fellow junior Da'Rick Rogers was dismissed from the team, the South Carolina native burst onto the scene immediately by beating NC State cornerback David Amerson multiple times during the 2012 season opener. From there, Patterson continued to make play after play, becoming the first NCAA player in four years to score a touchdown four different ways.

During his only season at the FBS level, Patterson accumulated a wide variety of statistics while starting all 12 games. As a receiver, the junior caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. As the season went along, The Vols started to use Patterson more and more from the running back position, and he tallied 208 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. The junior returned four punts for 101 yards and a touchdown. However, Patterson did most of his damage as a kick returner, compiling 671 yards and another touchdown on 24 attempts. He set an SEC single-season record with a combined kickoff and punt return average of 27.6 yards, and a school record of 1,858 all-purpose yards.

STRENGTHS Easily separates on vertical routes when given a free release. Very few wasted steps on cuts. Very smooth in his breaks. Finds soft areas in zone coverage between corners and safeties. Looks to turn upfield immediately after the catch. Very good with slants, quick head fake out allows for inside release, strong step forward, body catches to prevent pass breakup while shielding corner. Flashes swiping inside arm bar away on back shoulder throws to allow for free turn. Frequently hauls in the difficult catches, especially when the defensive back is draped on him. Not afraid to hand fight all the way along the sideline on vertical routes to create a sliver of separation. Understands hot read recognition when the corner blitzes. Builds speed quickly after the catch, almost gliding when in stride. Good vision with the ball in his hands, cuts upfield when he sees a lane. Used occasionally at running back, has the speed and wiggle to beat defenders to the edge while utilizing hesitations moves. Very nimble on his feet, especially for size. Makes plays out of nothing when carrying the ball. Numerous natural qualities to his game.

WEAKNESSES Consistently a body catcher, even when it is not necessary. Was not frequently asked to go up and get the football at its highest point. Large number of his snaps start while off the line of scrimmage, allows for a better release. Doesn't use his hands enough against a jam, tries to dip or side step rather than slap or push. Tends to throttle down in his breaks.Burst after the catch or return is only adequate but does accelerate quickly. Tries to do too much when the ball is in his hands at times. Dropped a few very catchable balls, including easy bucket throw over shoulder. Inconsistent blocking effort.

BOTTOM LINE He may be considered raw with his ability to handle physical coverage, but Patterson is one of the more naturally talented pass catchers to come along in the last few years. He only has one year of tape against FBS level of competition, but from the first game Patterson showed his versatility by making plays from a variety of alignments. If the Vol can start using his hands to release off the line and tighten up some technique issues, he should be one of this class' top playmakers. He should be a first-round selection and could be the first receiver off the board.

Bio from NFL.com