Quinton Patton was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. In two seasons at Louisiana Tech, Patton emerged as a standout wide receiver.
In his two years with the Bulldogs, Patton caught 183 passes for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was especially prolific in his final year of college, reeling in 104 passes.
Patton showed excellent promise in training camp, but a broken foot early in the season was a major setback. He returned late in the season, but his impact was limited.
In his first year with the 49ers, Patton was active for only six regular-season games and caught just three passes for 34 yards. He also had two receptions in the playoffs.
Patton stands 6'0" tall and weighs in at 204 pounds. He has good, though not blazing speed. Patton has excellent hands and will continue to improve as a route-runner.
The upside for Patton is extremely high, and the 49ers hope that he can tap into that potential in 2014.
With the uncertainty surrounding Anquan Boldin's contract status, Patton could be the 49ers' No. 2 wide receiver. In addition, Michael Crabtree's contract expires after the 2014 season, so there's no guarantee he will be in a 49ers uniform beyond this year.
Patton, therefore, becomes a valuable asset to the 49ers, and they need him to develop quickly. At a minimum, Patton will be the 49ers' third or fourth receiver, depending on whom else the team brings in via the draft or free agency.
Patton got a taste of the NFL in 2013, and he is poised to have a breakout season in 2014.
The key to Patton's success will be twofold. First, he must stay healthy. The time he missed this past season also disrupted the chemistry that Patton was trying to build with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
In addition to good health, Patton must earn the confidence of Kaepernick. Still a young quarterback, Kaepernick throws the vast majority of his passes to the one or two receivers he trusts to make plays.
In 2012, this was Michael Crabtree, and in 2013, we saw Anquan Boldin become Kaepernick's favorite target.
Although Patton may not be Kaepernick's favored receiver, if he can prove himself to Kaepernick, he will certainly get more looks.
If Patton can stay healthy, he could easily catch 45 passes for 600 yards in the upcoming season. Even if the 49ers retain Boldin, these numbers are attainable for Patton.
Looking ahead to the 2014 season, the 49ers are focused on winning the NFC West and making a return trip to the Super Bowl. A key to that goal will be the emergence of Quinton Patton.
NFL stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com.
Collegiate stats courtesy of sports-reference.com.