Fourth Round, 128th Pick
It's very rare for a wide receiver to carry a team, but that's exactly what Quinton Patton did at times for Louisiana Tech. With 104 catches in his senior season, Patton was able to get his even when the defense knew he was going to be the focus of the offensive game plan.
Let's see why Johnthan Banks, a top cornerback in this draft who faced some of the best college receivers of anyone as an SEC defender, called Patton "the best receiver" he's played against.
Patton is an ultra-productive, tough receiver who can beat his opponent in a number of ways. He gets up to speed right out of his stance and puts immediate pressure on cornerbacks. Because of this, he usually gets a big cushion and can take advantage on short and intermediate routes by creating a lot of separation. Patton can also get free deep and has excellent ball-tracking ability over his shoulder to make big plays. His body control and moves to create separation in routes are all advanced.
Patton isn't a true burner that can separate deep from speedy corners, and his size is just average. He isn't very elusive or a threat to make a huge play after the catch, despite hard-nosed running. He can lose contested balls and will have trouble against more talented NFL corners on 50/50 balls. His abilities probably limit him to a No. 2 wide receiver role in the NFL.
Patton can hang with more rugged corners at 6'0", 204 pounds and over 32" arms. His 4.53 40 time doesn't indicate top-end speed, but he can still get deep by setting up corners with his route-running and his acceleration off of the line still demands respect. Patton is comfortable playing above the rim, but his 33" vertical shows that he won't be able to sky over more talented NFL corners. His 4.01 short shuttle demonstrates the quickness that helps him get open with regularity.
Patton is known as a high-character player with a magnetic personality. His intelligence, effort, instincts and overall fire in his belly are all aligned to maximize his potential in the NFL.
Patton can line up in the slot and has the quickness and precise route-running ability to get open underneath, but he is also excellent on the entire route tree and should remain on the outside in the NFL. He can run short, intermediate and deep routes with the same effectiveness and will give his man a workout as long as he has a good quarterback.
Patton is quick and sudden enough out of his stance to elude the jam, but corners rarely give him the chance to beat them initially in press coverage. He gets up to top speed almost instantly, forcing corners to give him a decent cushion so they don't get burned early in the play. He sometimes stands up or stutter-steps momentarily to set up his opponent with a quick and explosive move based on their reaction. In general, Patton puts pressure on the cornerback from the word go and understands how to use what he's got to beat his man consistently.
Patton is often targeted on short passes including wide receiver screens, but don't think that's because he's not a good downfield route-runner. He creates a lot of separation with sudden breaks and throttle-downs in his routes. He understands how to turn a cushion into room to operate and how to get free of tight coverage close to the line of scrimmage.
Patton is a reliable, natural hands-catcher and does a good job getting under low passes as he sprawls to the ground. Sometimes he will lose contested balls because defensive backs can jar the ball free, which could limit his productivity downfield in the pros.
Patton is exceptional when it comes time to haul in the deep ball by tracking it over his shoulder. He has a large effective catch radius, enhanced by the ability to go very low for catches and excellent leap timing/body control. Patton is good at high-pointing the ball, although he isn't going to win any slam-dunk contests. He will give up his body to make a play and doesn't hear footsteps when he is open to big hits. Patton also knows how to employ a subtle pushoff at the moment the ball arrives to create extra space.
Run After Catch
Patton lacks the outstanding quickness or speed to be a gamebreaker after the catch, but everything else is there. He immediately switches into run-after-catch mode and uses efficient steps and moves to gain extra yardage. Patton understands how to set up his opponent and uses their momentum against them on the fly. You'll see an occasional spin move in addition to Patton struggling against tackles like a running back to eke out everything he can once he has secured the ball.
Patton isn't a dominant blocker, but he brings a ton of energy to the task and seems to relish physical confrontation. He'll block to the whistle and his effort in this area is indicative of his dedication to his craft.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Patton's ability to line up inside and outside in addition to his solid run-after-catch skills and sharp routes make him an excellent fit for a West Coast offense as a "Z" receiver.