Raiders interview high motor prospect

The Oakland Raiders are determined to turn around the image of their franchise. Hard work and dedication are becoming the prerequisite to play for the Silver and Black. One such NFL Draft prospect meets the criterion and Oakland used one of their 60 NFL Combine interviews to talk with the man.

David Patterson is an overachiever, a determined individual who has carved a successful career from hard work and a never-say-die attitude. He is a football player in the truest sense of the word, someone who respects the game and dedicates himself to it. Although he won't be the biggest or most athletic defensive tackle selected on draft day, he may be the one least likely to disappoint the team that picks him.

Patterson, a 6-foot-3, 274-pound defensive lineman from Ohio State, had an outstanding collegiate career. He finished his four-year stint as a Buckeye with 72 total tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He split time between defensive tackle and defensive end and may have a similar fate awaiting him on the pro level.

A captain during his senior year, he was named second-team All-Big Ten and was the recipient of the Jim Marshall Warrior Award for his efforts that season. He believes himself capable of making a similar impact on Sundays.

"I work hard at practice and in the meetings and will do anything they need me to do – being on time, being very efficient, taking coaching well, being a good learner and a good team player," Patterson said.

Patterson went into the Senior Bowl with much to prove and got off to a rough start when he weighed in 11 pounds lighter than his listed playing weight. He made a nice recovery, however, by outworking all of his peers on the practice field.

He can shoot the gaps effectively and will fight through double teams. Although he was caught out of position at times and showed a tendency to be pushed around a little bit, he still left a favorable impression because of his refusal to give up on any play.

By the time the NFL Combine rolled around, Patterson had beefed up to 285 and looked solid, completing 21 reps of the 225-bench press. He was a little stiffer in run drills, posting a 1.82 10-yard split and 5.15 40-yard dash; he also posted a 4.43 short-shuttle and 7.47 three-cone. His vertical jump came in at 32.5 with a 9-foot-10 broad.

"I hope to prove that I can compete at the next level," said Patterson. "I'm out here like everyone just to have fun, showcase my talents and compete."

If Senior Bowl week was any indication, Patterson may be destined to compete in a 3-4 defense. Aside from Tampa Bay, whose staff coached him throughout the week, Patterson said the teams he spoke with were San Diego, Baltimore and New England. Each of those teams utilizes a 3-4 alignment and likely sees him as an end in that scheme.

Patterson, though, believes he could excel in a 4-3 defense as well and met with several such teams in Mobile. He enjoyed the way he was deployed by the Buccaneers' staff down in Mobile and feels he could succeed in a similar role in the NFL.

"Working with the pro coaches has been going really well. Coach (Larry) Coyer, I love his coaching style," said Patterson of Tampa Bay's new defensive line coach.

Patterson is projected to be a mid-round draft pick. If that projection holds up, expect him to be one of the better value picks of the entire draft and the Raiders could use a value pick from a high-motor player to supplement the growing persona their defense exemplifies.

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