The New England Patriots are picking in the 29th spot of this year’s NFL Draft. It’s speculated that the Patriots have an interest for an wide receiver position – either to upgrade or to fill in the spot in case that Wes Welker does not make to the team.
According to SB Nation’s Matthew Fairburn latest release of his mock draft, the Patriots could be taking Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton. His name is not yet popular, but he was noted to be one of the most consistent player this season.
NFL 2013 Draft Profile gives us a great overview of Patton’s abilities and uniqueness. At 6’2” and 195 lb,s Patton’s contribution to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs was detrimental in the Bulldog’s league championship victory. He had five catches, 116 yards, and one touchdown against San Jose State and seven catches, 162 yards, and one touchdown against Nevada.
Patton’s dynamic athleticism in precise route running and solid hands has been compared to Reggie Wayne. Some of the strength that stands out is his ability to line up on the outside, something that the Patriots clearly need to address in the wide receiver position. He has good acceleration off the line, gets to full speed in a couple of steps and can shimmy to free himself and stick his foot in the ground to get inside position on slants. Another strength I like about him is the ability to catch the ball with his hands away from his body, even when trailing passes over either shoulder. I also like his acrobatic movements and awareness in adjusting his feet in the sideline to make a catch.
Some lack of strengths noted is the extension of hands from his frame, but doesn’t snatch and secure the ball. He is also challenged by finding the ball downfield or come up with catchable passes when adjusting to it in the air. He also needs to improve in yards as a punter returner in by making more comfortable catches to avoid running towards the sideline.
From my point of view, the pros and cons outweigh the cons. The areas he lack strength can be very well developed through coaching and practice. Some of his traits remind me of what Randy Moss brought to the field in 2007 minus the attitude.
A big plus is the character he showed with his teammate Adrien Cole in the Poinsettia Bowl by giving up the $300 Best Buy certificates honored to them in their bowl prizes to kids joining in the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
At this point, Patton is a prospect to watch for as the other mocked-mentioned receiver, Tavon Austin, might lack the qualities that the Patriots are looking for on the outside and vertical plays.
If Patton possesses the strengths to fill in the needs as slot receiver while also covering outside and vertical plays, Patton might be a good addition to the roster. However, they might have to consider the “next man up” for punt returner or Patton might just have to get rid of his flaws very quickly.
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