Looking to start an argument among draftniks? Just throw out the name Cordarrelle Patterson. Opinion is so divided on this guy right now. Many are so down on him they’re convinced he’s dropped entirely out of the first round. Then there are people like Evan Silva of Rotoworld. Silva is convinced that Patterson is a major talent just waiting to destroy NFL defenses. Silva tweeted about Patterson’s potential on Thursday afternoon. He said:
Teams that worry about Cordarrelle Patterson’s routes should find easier ways to get him ball. Use inside numbers. Will destroy after catch.
If you don’t think he can get open on his own, scheme him open. Just get him the rock and he’ll rip big plays & score. Insane ability.
Very interesting remarks from Silva. Because the knock on Patterson is that he’s not a polished route-runner and therefore not a viable outside receiver despite his major physical tools. In the minds of detractors this guy is a project at best and a bust-in-waiting at worst. But Silva has a different take. He thinks this guy can kill it right out of the gate, if only he is used right. Not as an outside guy but an over-the-middle Percy Harvin-type x-factor.
So how might Patterson, with all his pros and cons, fit into the picture for Minnesota? My own feeling up till now has been that the Vikings should stay away from this guy. The Vikings need a polished outside receiver like Keenan Allen or DeAndre Hopkins who can step right in and complement what they already have on the roster. That’s been my thinking. But Silva’s remarks have given me pause. Are the knocks against Patterson legit? Is this guy no better than a second rounder? Or is this player so talented that you have to take him if given the chance? Even in the first round? And could Patterson step in right away and contribute in Bill Musgrave’s offense?
The key to this is Musgrave. Fans seem to hate this guy but I think he gets too much scorn. I think Musgrave deserves a lot of credit for the way he adjusted his approach last year in the face of certain realities. The way he handled Percy Harvin shows his willingness and ability to take a unique talent and try to maximize it. He figured out pretty quickly that Percy is not a traditional downfield receiver. So what did he do? He designed an array of plays that allowed Percy to catch the ball short and then use his running back-like skills to gain yardage. Maybe it didn’t always work perfectly but that was less on Musgrave and more on the roster. Had the Vikings possessed a legit outside-the-numbers receiver to complement Harvin? The offense would’ve been much better for it, and Musgrave would’ve received much less criticism.
Laugh if you want but I trust Bill Musgrave when it comes to creativity. I think he could take a talent like Cordarrelle Patterson – if Silva is indeed right about him – and get something out of him right away. Musgrave is flexible and he would find ways to get Patterson the ball, just like he did with Harvin. The big difference with Patterson would be the presence of Greg Jennings. Jennings may not be a true deep target but he knows how to work outside the numbers. He and Patterson would potentially complement each other beautifully. Patterson would not be exactly a Harvin analogue but he would be something in the same area. An x-factor player who would force defenses to adjust.
The thinking all along has been that the Vikings must find a traditional split end to complement Greg Jennings. But maybe that thinking is too safe. Maybe the better course of action is to take a leap of faith and draft a guy with tremendous upside who doesn’t fit the clear mold of the #1 receiver. Put some trust in Musgrave’s creativity. Give him tools to work with and watch him build an offense. What would Musgrave do with Patterson? I don’t know. But I bet he’d figure something out. And that’s why I now think Patterson is a guy you have to look out for. This guy may be too good to pass up.