Cordarrelle Patterson patterns himself after Falcons start receiver Julio Jones. He may have some of the same skills, but there are a lot of questions about the athletically gifted Patterson.
The one-year wonder at Tennessee is the top-rated receiver in this year's NFL draft by many analysts' assessment, but the most common generalization about Patterson is that he is "raw."
"I don't listen to anything anyone says about my ability. God gave it to me and I go out every day and practice hard at practice, and in the games I expect big things out of myself," Patterson said.
Patterson played only one year at Tennessee and set the single-season school record with 1,873 all-purpose yards (46 receptions for 778 yards and five touchdowns; 25 rushes for 323 yards and three touchdowns; four punt returns for 101 yards and one touchdown; and 24 kickoff returns for 671 yards and a touchdown).
"There's nobody that jumps out at you to be a top-10 to -15 pick except Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee," said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. "That would be a bit of a stretch because he's raw and wasn't as dominant as I think he would have been with another year at Tennessee coming in from the JUCO route."
Patterson played only one season at Tennessee after transferring from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash Sunday, sixth among receivers.
"Fast guys run fast and I knew he was going to run fast. He's a height-weight-speed freak," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. "The question is for guys that were one-year college (players) coming from two years at a (junior college) is what is the history on the kid, and you better get to know the kid. That's his deal. Nobody doubts how good he is with a ball in his hands and his developmental upside as a No. 1 receiver. What they have to figure out is what's his work ethic? Does he love the game? Can we trust the kid? Can we trust him to develop if we draft him high? He's a top-10 guy naturally. I don't expect him to go in the top 10 though."
Even if Patterson drops out of the top 10, most expect him to be gone by the time the Vikings draft at No. 23. For them, the question is whether they can afford to take a raw receiver if he does happen to still be available then.
"The way it rolls out right now is Patterson is a wild card; top 10 talent, but how far is he going to drop with character and those concerns. I don't know the answer to that yet," Mayock said, "but he's in the first round."
Mayock has cautioned in the past about receivers that excelled for only one year at a high collegiate level, saying they don't have a high rate of success at the NFL level.
"I didn't expect to be a one-year-and-done, but we had the coaching change and everything was getting a little crazy, so I wanted to get out of there," Patterson said.
Patterson had an inconsistent day during catching drills Sunday at the combine. At times, he showed the ability to snatch the ball out of the air with authority, but he also dropped a go route and an out route. And his route-running showed why he earned the label of "raw."
Despite all the questions about consistency and polish as a receiver, there is little doubt about Patterson's athletic ability. That's the reason he will likely be gone before the Vikings pick.
"I say I'm a top-15 pick, but I can't control what coaches think and they're the ones that make the decisions," he said. "If they see me in the top 15, top 10, then I respect that because I think I am."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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