What I Learned Watching: Natrez Patrick

ATLANTA - Ethan Burch reviews Mays DE Natrez Patrick's performance against Northside-Warner Robins.

Natrez Patrick’s athleticism highlights the defensive end’s long list of attributes that allow him to attack the ball with such a high level of intensity. Mays needed that type of tenacity from the four-star defensive end prospect as it found itself in the marquee Friday-night matchup with Northside-Warner Robins for the Class AAAAA state title at the Georgia Dome.

Measuring 6-foot-3.5 and 254 pounds, the four-star Georgia commit is a lot stronger than his frame - that's according to National Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons. Friday night’s matchup with the Eagles’ offensive line would put that claim to the test.

Rather than line Patrick up on the end against Northside-Warner Robins, however, Mays chose to put Patrick at middle linebacker for the majority of the first half (and some at nose guard). While Patrick possesses the quickness necessary to get off the ball and make plays from both the inside and outside, it was clear the Eagles’ offense planned on keeping the ball as far away from Patrick as humanly possible. Patrick showed no shortage of effort, though. He consistently popped the opposition with his big frame. He's obviously not going to be a linebacker in college (he's too big for that), but he showed Friday night his ability to see ball and get ball.

With that said, in one instance where Patrick had a clear lane to the rusher, Patrick had a lapse in his execution and let the ball carrier slip right through his arms; so he's hardly perfect. Still, he rarely has a problem getting off blockers and finding the ball, but he does have to work on some areas of his technique.

I also noticed that another area where Patrick seemed to be extremely comfortable in was dropping back into coverage in passing situations, which is pretty crazy considering he's a defensive end. This was obviously something he needed to do well in Mays’ matchup with Northside-Warner Robins as the Eagles’ offense made the passing game one of its primary attacks. Considering his size, Patrick turned and ran well. His length and quickness are to thank for that.

Patrick's performance alone, however, wouldn't be enough to stop Northside-Warner Robins as the Eagles' offense roared back with 18 points in the second half en route to a 25-18 victory and the AAAAA State Championship.

Patrick is the second-ranked defensive end in Georgia and the fourth-ranked in the south. The Mays senior is Scout’s 11th-ranked defensive end in the country.


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