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2014 Player Spotlight: Cordarrelle Patterson

Aug 4, 2014

FootballGuysKyle Wachtel provides an overview of what to expect from Cordarrelle Patterson this season.

 

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The hype train is buzzing for Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver, Cordarrelle Patterson. After a rookie season that included nine total touchdowns, scored in several different ways, expectations for the 2013 first round selection were bound to rise. Patterson’s measureables from the NFL Combine (see the table below) may have been the spark, but the appointment of Norv Turner added gasoline to that fire.
 
FantasyPros Draft Wizard

Patterson’s NFL Combine Results

Height Weight 40-YD VERT
6′ 3⁄4″ 216 4.42 37

 

Turner oversaw Vincent Jackson‘s rise to fantasy relevance and more recently, the breakthough of Josh Gordon, who was suspended for the first two games of 2013 and went on to lead the NFL in receiving yards. Turner’s history, including his recent history with his top wide receivers, was delved into for our Coaching Carousel series.

 

Noted in that Turner article were the words of Vikings’ GM, Rick Spielman, who exclaimed that the “first thing Norv Turner did was put in ten plays for Cordarelle Patterson.” That qoute undoubtedly had an impact on Patterson’s ADP, which the most recent data places at 50th overall and 21st among wide receivers in standard leagues.

 

Patterson’s playmaking skills impacted many functions of the Vikings’ offense and for a team that lost Percy Harvin, there may not have been a better fit – both players have the skillsets to contribute as a receiver, runner, and returner. Here is a look at the rookie seasons for both of those players:

 

Patterson’s Rookie Season

G REC YD Y/R TD RSH YD Y/R TD rYD* rTD**
 16  45  469  10.4  4  12  158  13.2  3  1393  2

*Kick Return Yards, **KICK RETURN TOUCHDOWNS

 

Harvin’s Rookie Season

G REC YD Y/R TD RSH YD Y/R TD rYD* rTD**
 15  60  790  13.2  6  15  135  9.0  0  1156  2

*Kick Return Yards, **KICK RETURN TOUCHDOWNS

 

Harvin was a more refined receiver entering the NFL and so his greater impact there should come as no surprise – Patterson played only one year of FBS football before entering the NFL, relying on his athleticism to carry him to this point. Harvin has remained among the NFL’s premier playmakers and developed into a fantasy football asset, both of which seem to be in Patterson’s short future. Turner recently had the following to say about his promising receiver:

 

“The most obvious thing, and you see it when he returns kicks, is he’s a natural runner. He’s got great instincts when he gets the ball in his hand and he makes great run decisions. He’s got great vision. I think from Day 1 to now he’s improved as a route runner. He’s been very serious about working as a route runner.” – Norv Turner on Patterson

 

The natural ability described by Turner played a major role in Patterson leading the NFL in kick return yards and touchdowns, while also averaging more than 13 yards-per-carry and totaling three touchdowns on his 12 rushes. Hearing about his dedication to improving as a route-runner is a promising sign, but ultimately is something that will need to appear on tape.

 

The two biggest factors working against a Gordon-like breakout season is the passing volume and depth of the receiving corps. Last season, the Cleveland Browns led the NFL with 681 passing attempts under Turner’s direction. That may not have been completely by choice though as their running game struggled to the tune of a 3.97 yards-per-carry, ranking among the NFL’s bottom-third. The Vikings will not have any troubles on the ground with Adrian Peterson, who will remain the focal point of the offense. More than 100 passing attempts should be expected to be trimmed off of Turner’s 2013 results.

 

As for the depth of the receiving corps, the Browns only starting caliber threat outside of Gordon was tight end Jordan Cameron. Greg Little and Davone Bess were the only two other receivers to record more than ten receptions. The Vikings boast Kyle Rudolph at tight end and also Greg Jennings, who remains only 30 years of age and has mastered the finer parts of receiving. Additionally, Jerome Simpson still remains on the roster and he broke out for 48 receptions and 726 receiving yards last season.

 

The quarterback situation in Minnesota is also up-in-the-air. While Teddy Bridgewater is expected to take over at some point, Matt Cassel still has an opportunity to begin the season as the starter. In the games where Cassel took the majority of snaps last season, Jennings caught 41 receptions for 491 yards compared to just 19 receptions and 231 yards for Patterson. The comfort level of the two veterans could surely delay Patterson’s ascendance.

 

Positives

  • Possesses natural instincts and ability that place him among the elite players with the ball in hand
  • Turner, who oversaw the emergence of V. Jackson and J. Gordon, intends to manufacture touches for Patterson
  • Minnesota’s defense is not expected to control games, placing more responsibility on offense to score points

 

Negatives

  • Must display a marked improvement as a route runner
  • Passing volume that helped elevate J. Gordon won’t be present
  • G. Jennings remains the top receiver until proven otherwise

 

Final Thoughts

While there is a wealth of potential in Patterson, much of that potential has already been built into his ADP, which places him in the fourth round. A few notable wide receivers with lower ADPs are Roddy White, DeSean Jackson, and Torrey Smith. It would take a small leap of faith to pass on those veterans for Patterson, whose reward to risk ratio begins to heat up in the middle of the fifth round.

 

2014 PROJECTIONS

My Projections

G REC YD Y/R TD RSH YD Y/R TD FumL FPT
 16  62  827  13.3  6.2  12  108  9  1.2  0.7  136

 

David Dodds’ Projections

G REC YD Y/R TD RSH YD Y/R TD FumL FPT
 16  68  843  12.4  6  12  132  11.0  1  1  138

 

Other Viewpoints

Alex Gelhar raves about Patterson’s potential for NFL.com…

The darling of ATL’s “Making the Leap” list is also the darling of many fantasy player’s eyes. Patterson was a fantasy point machine down the stretch last season, and with Norv Turner now calling the shots (and admitting he’s desinging plays specifically for Patterson) his draft stock is skyrocketing as we approach the kickoff of the season. Patterson’s greatest assets are his ability with the ball in his hands, whether after the catch or as a running back. His route running is sure to improve, and if he can learn to better use his body and positioning to high-point and win contested catches, then the sky is the limit for the talented Tennessee product. You’ll likely be hard pressed to find him available much later than rounds five or six come draft day.

 

At Rotoworld, Mike Clay chooses Patterson as the receiver with elite talent in an underwhelming offense to emerge into fantasy superstar…

Let’s clear one thing up very quickly – this has nothing to do with Patterson’s life off-the-field. The comparison is only from a football perspective. A first-round selection in last year’s draft, Patterson is a big play waiting to happen, contributing primarily as a wide receiver, but also as a rusher and returner. Despite playing a situational role as a rookie, Patterson scored nine touchdowns – four receiving, three rushing, and two on returns. He’s still considered to be a bit raw, but he’s now 23 and primed to play near-every-down in the Vikings improving offense. His upside is already showing up in his ADP, but Patterson is worth the investment. He’s one of only a handful of wideouts with Top 5 upside.

 

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