Reading some of the 90-in-90 breakdowns that our wonderful Niners Nation writers are doing, I decided to try something in a similar vein. Be warned: I am in no ways near as talented at writing as James Brady, David Neumann, Tre9er or even Fooch
at this. edit: (See what I mean? That just sounded bad.) I just wanted to try this out and see if it is any good or not.
The offseason has again presented changes at the WR corps of the 49ers. Last year we had a major trade and a fourth draft pick: Anquan Boldin and Quinton Patton. This year we have another major trade and a fourth draft pick: Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington. Last year Quinton Patton had a hand injury early in camp and wasn't able to play until the 3rd and 4th preseason game, where he showed some flashes of greatness. He then played in the regular season weeks 1-3 primarily as a Special Teams guy.
Then, in week 4, he got injured again with a foot injury. Harbaugh kept him on the 53 for the next 8 weeks injured as he recovered. Sitting out a few games afterwards on the inactive list, he then got his chance to replace a not-fully-healed Mario Manningham. Though not showing eye-popping numbers, he was steady as a #3 and kept the job. He showed off his blocking skills as well as his catching ability in Week 17 where he was instrumental in the final go-ahead drive.
Patton is on the second year of his rookie contract. During the off-season, he worked out with Kaepernick in Miami. His name was mentioned in the TMZ hoopla, but nothing came of that.
Patton is a hard worker who is not afraid to block, and is in fact willing to dive right in and do whatever it takes. Has above-average but not breakaway speed, he is more quick than anything. He has great hands and is effective at route-running. Many have styled him along the same type of WR as Crabtree, Boldin and Johnson. As a second-year player, he still has a lot to learn. However, if past history is any sort of indicator, Patton will relish the opportunity.
Why he might improve:
Most wide receivers start off slow in their first year (with some exceptions). Patton has shown a dedication to the game and to his QB. Having a year of NFL experience under his belt, as well as learning from his teammates he has an opportunity to shine. If he can learn from Crabtree, Boldin and Johnson and combine the best of these three, he can really take off. Also, Kaepernick is not afraid to throw it to him. Given the chance, Patton can make a positive difference to the 49er offense.
Why he might regress:
Two possibilities: one is injuries. Though past injuries do not necessarily mean injury-prone, having two injuries in one season could be a cause for concern. If he gets injured, the WR's competing for the #4 and #5 spot may just knock him out of the running. Second is if he gets sloppy because he is not getting the opportunities to play. Though this is unlikely, it is not unheard of. How will the incidents of the off-season affect him (if at all)?
Odds of making the roster:
Very good. Though not slated to be a starter because of the talent in front of him, he is in the driver's seat for the #4 slot. Nothing is just handed out to the 49er players, and the competition will be fierce. His biggest competition will be the other #4 draft pick who is a "burner" Bruce Ellington, though you can't count out Brandon Lloyd or Jon Baldwin if he can get his act together. If, heaven forbid there is an injury to one of the top three I see Patton stepping right in and making a contribution. Patton will not rest until he is the best, and that factor will keep him on this team.
Disclaimer: this post has been written by the self-appointed President of the General's Battlewagon. The bias for Quinton Patton is fully acknowledged.