Several high profile draft analysts have former Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as their number one receiver in the upcoming NFL draft.
ESPN senior draft analyst Mel Kiper has Patterson going to the Miami Dolphins as the 12th overall selection. Chris Perkins of the Sun-Sentinel reported Kiper as saying ““I think he’s worthy of being a 12th pick…..I just think you look at where he could be a year or two from now, you need a wide receiver, it’s not a big stretch to take him at that point.”
Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller appeared on “The Swain Event” Wednesday and talked about Tennessee players eligible for the draft, with host and former Vol receiver Jayson Swain. Miller said he has Patterson as his seventh overall player, and his top rated receiver.
The praise for Patterson is understandable. He came to Tennessee this past season as a Junior College transfer from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. Patterson was a five star recruit and chose Tennessee over Georgia and Auburn. Shortly before the 2012 season began, returning leading receiver Da’Rick Rogers was kicked off the team by then coach Derek Dooley. This propelled Patterson into the starting lineup, opposite fellow junior Justin Hunter.
Patterson made the most of his opportunity. In the season opener in Atlanta, against NC State, Patterson had six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, and two rushes for 72 yards, including a 67 yard score. CP, as fans began affectionately calling him, proved to be extremely versatile. He rushed for 308 yards on 25 carries with 3 touchdowns on the season. He also proved to be a great kick returner, he returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown during the season.
The talented wide receiver would go on to set the school record for all purpose yards (1,858) and the SEC record for single season total kick return average (27.6). His signature game came against Troy, in which he had 9 catches for 219 yards and a touchdown.
Patterson is still a very raw player, but the sky is the limit for how good he could be. Ultimately it’s up to him. If he puts in the hard work he’ll be a pro-bowl caliber receiver. He’s got a rare combination of size, strength and speed. He compares to a mixture of Brandon Marshall and Percy Harvin. If he can play to that level then whichever team selects the 6’3″ receiver in April will be extremely happy.
The Miami Dolphins makes the most sense for Patterson. They lacked a playmaker at the wide receiver position this past season, after the team traded Brandon Marshall. Patterson would be paired with second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who made considerable improvements over the season. The duo could thrive for years in south beach.
Another possibility would have the Buffalo Bills selecting him even earlier. The Bills hold the eighth overall pick and are most likely going to try to upgrade their quarterback position. If they don’t see a quarterback they like at that draft position, they may pull the trigger on Patterson. The Bills lack any real playmakers at receiver after Steve Johnson.
If Patterson falls past either of those two teams then it could really change the strategies of some teams. A team like the Carolina Panthers, who have a more immediate need of a defensive tackle or secondary help, may not be able to pass on a talent like Patterson.
Wherever Patterson ends up it’ll be great to see a Tennessee player excelling at the next level. It will also help bring back Tennessee’s image as “Wide Receiver U”, which can do nothing but great things for recruiting.