Last October I was in the bar at T.G.I. Fridays, and there was a football game airing. The game was Louisiana Tech against Texas A&M, and it had the feel of an Arena Football League game with the amount of scoring that was going on. That's when I first started to keep my eye on this receiver from Tech: Quinton Patton. This Patton kid was catching absolutely everything and he couldn't be stopped. By the end of the game, the score was 59-57 Texas A&M, and Patton had 21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns. Those are video game-like numbers, made even more impressive against a good Texas A&M team.
This season, Patton will at the very least push all the other receivers to get better, because not all jobs are secure. Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall will try their best to fend off Patton to ensure that they won't get the boot. In my estimation, the only locks at the moment are Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and A.J. Jenkins; The other roster spots are up in the air. With some stellar abilities, Patton could turn out to be a steal as a fourth round selection.
Weight: 204 lbs
40-Yard Dash: 4.53
Bench Reps: 8
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What he brings to the 49ers
Patton doesn't have a whole lot of negatives to his game that stick out; The positives do, however:
- Elusiveness - While Patton isn't elusive to the level of a player like Tavon Austin, he's capable of making defenders whiff when trying to tackle him. He possesses good juke moves that come in handy when in the open field and when he's running a route.
- Good route-running - I am impressed with his route running and the smarts Patton shows along with it. Patton is aware of when to break a route short and where the weak spot in the zone is. He then uses subtle moves that throw the corner off, leading to Patton getting open. Patton shouldn't have trouble getting open in the NFL, especially in off coverage; The best bet to stop Patton will be to press him at the line.
- Ball skills - In my evaluation of Patton, I came to the conclusion that he has superior hands and ball skills. Not only is Patton sure-handed, he shows the ability to haul in some low-percentage catches while off-balance.
- Willing blocker - Patton had just eight reps of 225 lbs at the combine; not a great total by any means, but he's still strong. The 49ers love receivers that can block and are willing to engage the defender; both are strong suits of Patton. Whether it's blocking for the running back, a fellow receiver, or Colin Kaepernick, Patton will try his best to block a defender to help the team.
What They Are Saying
New #49ers receiver Quinton Patton received a $350 gift card to Best Buy as a bowl gift last year. He donated it to a Make-A-Wish child.— Anthony Ly (@AnthonyLy49) April 29, 2013
WR Quinton Patton mistakenly flew out to SF early, eager to start with the #49ers. He had to turn around & fly back per NFL rules.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 2, 2013
Harbaugh on Patton: "The fact that he would buy his ticket, fly out here, just speaks volumes about him."— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 2, 2013
- CBSSports.com writer Rob Rang had this to say about Patton's strengths:
" Possesses an athletic build with long arms. Quick accelerator who gobbles up the cushion. Shows good quickness, strength and competitiveness versus press coverage. Sets up the defender with a variety of releases, alternating his gait to keep his opponent off-balance. Consistently catches the ball with his hands, away from his body."
- Check out all of Patton's stats at cfbstats.com
Patton is far from a finished product, but his future could be bright. He has a chance to see a good amount of time on the field this season, but that will ultimately be up to him. The 49ers have some receivers that can become big-time contributors, but the bottom line is that somebody will have to step up and take reigns of the opportunity. Will that be Patton?