When the San Francisco 49ers drafted WR Quinton Patton in the fourth-round (No. 128), no one was happier than I was. A prediction, I made months in advance, Patton somehow fell into the 49ers lap. The Louisiana Tech product had arguably the best combination of hands, speed, and agility coming out of the draft, making him a draft day steal in my books. Now as the 49ers prepare for the 2013 season it will be interesting to see what role Patton will play. So far 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been enamored with his fourth-round pick, especially with his work ethic and dedication, saying:
The fact that he would buy his own ticket, fly out here, just to me speaks volumes about him. I mean, to be honest with you, he reminds me of me. That’s something I would have done.
It is that type of determination that will help solidify Patton as a perennial Pro Bowler in the near future. In Patton’s rookie season, I predicted him to have 50 catches, 700 yards, and five touchdowns, even before the heart breaking news to WR Michael Crabtree. Those numbers should only balloon after Crabtree’s injury, leaving me to believe the slot position is his to lose. A player with blazing quickness and shiftiness to break arm tackles cutting across the grain, Patton will be a sure fire highlight reel on ESPN, mark my words.
However, Patton’s road to success has not always been an easy one, as his humble beginnings started at Coffeyville Community College. It is there that Patton made a name for himself as a star wide receiver his sophomore season, by recording 50 catches for 687 yards and four touchdowns. Despite those great stats, Patton somehow flew under the radar, as only four college teams recruited him, including: South Florida, Minnesota, Troy, and Louisiana Tech.
In only two seasons, Patton thrived as a Louisiana Tech Bulldog, compiling 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. In addition, Tampa Bay Buccaneers second-round pick (No. 43) CB Johnthan Banks had high praise for Patton saying:
I feel like Quinton Patton from Louisiana Tech is the best receiver I’ve played against since I’ve been here. I’ve gone against some good ones in the SEC, too, but he’s probably the most complete.
So what makes Patton so great? One attribute may be his willingness to go across the middle. His natural ability to catch balls with his hands, away from his body, is what separates him from the rest of the pack. A fluid route runner who can also stretch the field, Patton is the perfect compliment to WR Anquan Boldin in 2013.
Aside from being a sure handed receiver, Patton’s greatest asset may not be his hands but rather his downfield blocking. Harbaugh loves team players, and the fact that Patton shows fight as a run blocker signifies he’s the consumate team player. A player willing to hustle downfield to spring a runner, Patton is as feisty as they come. Simply put, a 49er!
With training camp set to resume in July, it will be fun to watch this kid blossom, as I believe he is a Pro Bowl talent waiting to happen.