Even an infrequent visitor to out beloved NN would easily figure out that Quinton Patton has a serious following here. While I'm certainly a member of the Patton army - I got my banner flying and everything - I also recognize that expecting him to turn into our hopes and dreams is a tad unrealistic.
That being said, he is reportedly putting on a show in OTAs. We noticed a couple days ago. After spending some time in Arizona with Colin Kaepernick this offseason in the hopes of establishing a nice rapport with the Kurt Warner-improved QB, Patton has been getting some extended playing time during OTAs. He has been benefiting from Anquan Boldin's absence and Bruce Ellington's injury. This last week? He split our two starting safeties down the middle of the field, hauling in a deep pass from Kaepernick.
In all likelihood, Patton is competing for the third WR spot. While we don't know what the offense is going to look like this year since we have a new OC, this means that realistically Patton will be a support guy more than a superstar. We all love him around here, but I think most can agree that he will not be making the Pro Bowl in the coming year.
What would a realistic, but successful, Patton campaign look like this season, though? If we try to stay objective and grounded, what can we hope for out of a "break out" year for Patton?
I actually think his skill-set makes him a pretty ideal player to move around the field, causing fits for opposing defenses because the way he lines up starts to tear apart defensive game plans. Boldin and Torrey Smith are, of course, going to demand attention. If Patton can start putting pressure on defenses by forcing to line up in an unusual fashion or by making big plays when the defense simple doubles down on Boldin and Smith, then I think Patton could have a hugely successful year.
Now, this will depend upon coaching and what sort of offense the coaches want to run. It is also going to depend upon Patton developing his physical skill set in conjunction with his mental game. But, as Matt Maiocco recently wrote about Patton, "he is working even harder, he's smarter and knows the game better." That's what Patton needs to really lead his army to victory.
I'll end with a great quote Patton gave a few days ago, just because it's pretty epic: "I'm not going to say it's my time, but I'm coming."
But what about you guys? Do you think I've laid out a pretty realistic, but successful, season for Patton? What else do you think he could do? Is he going to blow the tops off of defenses or catch only screen passes?