When the San Francisco 49ers drafted WR Quinton Patton in the fourth-round (No. 128) of the 2013 NFL draft, I knew they got a steal. A player that shined during the Senior Bowl while also putting up gaudy numbers in two seasons at Louisiana Tech, as he compiled 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns, Patton quickly garnered the attention of the 49ers coaching staff.
However, during his rookie season Patton had trouble seeing the field as he only played in six games while only recording three receptions for 34 yards. Disappointing to say the least considering he was projected to be the slot receiver in 2013 while pushing WR Kyle Williams, that was not the case and a large part of that was him being injury prone his rookie season. But with a year under his belt, can Patton be the player the 49ers hoped when they drafted him a year ago? Well considering the 49ers acquired WR Stevie Johnson who is the odds on favorite to win the No. 3 role, that leaves Patton fighting for the No. 4 spot.
It’s highly unlikely the 49ers use four wide-receiver sets as OC Greg Roman has Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis at his disposal, so if Patton does see the field it will be in obvious passing situations. A player that knows how to fight for 50-50 balls while possessing the ability to find soft spots in zone coverage, Patton will be in a fierce camp battle as he shows the 49ers coaching staff he has what it takes to be a starting caliber wide receiver.
Whether showing fight as a downfield blocker, displaying his toughness going across the middle, or turning a designed screen pass into a 40-yard touchdown, you can be sure Patton will be looking to have another stellar pre-season as he shows the 49ers coaching staff that he’s more than just a role player. A player that I labeled a Pro Bowl talent while giving his first NFL nickname “7-11” during last year’s training camp, I still believe that to be true, as he just needs playing time to show off his unique skill-set. The question remains, will Roman use his strengths to his advantage? Time will tell.