Tennessee announces QB Tyler Bray, WRs Justin Hunter & Cordarrelle Patterson & DL Darrington Sentimore declare for NFL Draft— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 9, 2013
Patterson was a two-time All-American at Hutchinson Community College and it didn't take long for Volunteers fans to find out what all the fuss was about. He scored two touchdowns in the opener, one of the ground and one through the air, to showcase his game-breaking ability.
He finished the season with terrific all-around numbers. He had 46 catches for 778 yards and 25 carries for 308 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns, including a kickoff return and a punt return. And he even completed a pass for 28 yards.
His ability to contribute in so many different areas is going to intrigue a lot of NFL teams. His combination of size, speed and athleticism will make him one of the best raw talents on the board. Upside will be the buzz word.
It's a key distinction because he still has a lot of growing to do as a receiver. Although his natural ability has allowed him to thrive in college, it takes a lot more polish to have similar success at the next level and he's not there quite yet.
He still has a lot of learning to do in terms of route running and reading the defense. There are numerous receivers in the draft every year that have immense physical gifts, but aren't able to grasp the finer points of the position and proceed to struggle.
Patterson should be able to avoid that fate because he's already made some progress during his time with the Volunteers. But it's going to take some time, and the team that uses a high draft pick on him will understand that ahead of time.
That said, it's impossible to ignore his potential. When you look at his numbers, the first name that comes to mind is Minnesota Vikings dual-threat star Percy Harvin. And Patterson has ideal NFL size to go along with his play-making skills.
As it stands now, Patterson looks like a late first or second rounder. Don't be surprised if that changes after coaching staffs get a better look at him during workouts and the Combine. He could make a major push up draft boards.
It all comes down to how much teams fall in love with Patterson's potential.