On Day 3 of the 2013 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers stayed put at No. 128, allowing the board to fall to them. There was still a ton of highly graded talent available, which put the 49ers in a favorable position.
With their first selection in the fourth-round, GM Trent Baalke made a superb value pick, taking Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech.
Patton was one of the best overall players left and also filled a need for San Francisco.
After addressing the defensive side of the ball early on, the Niners added a playmaker. Coming into a loaded position group in the Bay Area, we’ll explore how the rookie receiver fits in with the 49ers.
How Does Patton Fit In?
Since Jim Harbaugh came to the 49ers in 2011, the team began to construct a dynamic, high-volume spread offense.
Their wide receiver group is built primarily of possession and slot-type receivers. The Niners like versatile players with quickness, which is what Patton is. Their offensive scheme and route-combinations stretch defenses horizontally, perhaps more than they do vertically.
They like to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers and let them operate.
Patton is great with the ball in his hands, bringing speed and quick-cut ability after the catch. If you’re looking for an NFL comparison, he is similar to Victor Cruz or Kyle Williams.
Moreover, Patton will be able to fulfill a role on special teams, returning both kicks and punts.
His Role in 2013
This is going to be an uphill battle for Patton from the start of training camp.
Right off the bat, Patton is looking at a stacked depth chart, featuring: (1) Michael Crabtree (2) Anquan Boldin (3) Mario Manningham (4) Kyle Williams and (5) A.J. Jenkins.
Although, in the end, Harbaugh’s football philosophy is founded on the sport of competition. If there is a better player out there, Harbaugh is always willing to give him a look because he knows it will make the team better.
This gives Patton all the opportunity in the world to not only make this roster, but get looks during the regular season.
Patton had dominant performances at the collegiate level, and there is a belief that he can emerge in this offense. Kyle Williams (ACL) and Mario Manningham (ACL, PCL) will really have to put the work in this offseason because Patton is right behind them.
With Colin Kaepernick now in place, Harbaugh wants the best possible playmakers around his quarterback.
And given that Patton is younger, cheaper and not coming off an injury, there is a window for him to earn a role. And if his game translates to the next level, it will not surprise anyone to see him active on game day as a rookie, unlike last year’s first-rounder, A.J. Jenkins.
This pick may have caused a ripple, which becomes a major storyline in training camp in Santa Clara this season.
Dylan DeSimone is the San Francisco 49ers' lead columnist for Bleacher Report. A former NFL journalist and fantasy football writer for SB Nation, Niners Nation and SB Nation Bay Area, Dylan now writes for B/R.
To talk football with Dylan, follow him on Twitter @DeSimone80