After four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and one season with the Oakland Raiders, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is on the move again, as he was reportedly traded to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take reported the news, and Vic Tafur of The Athletic confirmed the report. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the Patriots will send a fifth-round draft pick to the Raiders, who will give New England a sixth-round pick.
The Vikes made Patterson the No. 29 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft, and immediate returns were good. He put up 627 total yards and seven offensive touchdowns as a rookie, and he was also selected to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner by virtue of his two return scores.
Patterson looked every bit like the departed Percy Harvin, and expectations for his continued development were huge in 2014. The former University of Tennessee star regressed under head coach Mike Zimmer, though.
He barely cleared 500 total yards and two touchdowns on offense in 2014, while he failed to score on a kick return, and his return average dipped by nearly seven yards.
After taking such a huge step back in his second season, Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel reported that the Vikings had placed him on the trading block:
He remained in the fold, however, and while he bounced back as a return man in 2015 with two touchdowns, he made just two receptions for 10 yards and carried twice for 15 yards on offense.
With Patterson's role in the offense being essentially nonexistent, Zimmer challenged him to step up during the 2016 offseason, per Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune:
"If he wants to be something other than just a returner, this is the year he has to do it. If he wants to be an NFL wide receiver, this is his time. A lot of guys grow up slower than others, at different times, in different stages. Guys kind of blossom in their third or fourth year. I don't know if it's going to happen. I hope it does, for our sake. And I'm not trying to make excuses for him, but he wasn't at Tennessee very long."
Patterson bounced back some in 2016 with 453 receiving yards and a kick-return touchdown, but he signed with Oakland prior to the 2017 campaign. In his one season with the Raiders, he posted 309 receiving yards, 121 rushing yards and two scores.
Even though Patterson hasn't made the type of strides expected by many, he is still a fairly young player at 27 with a spectacular skill set at his disposal.
He is capable of scoring a touchdown whenever he touches the ball, and if he is able to improve as a route-runner, then he has a chance to be a dangerous receiver at the NFL level.
Patterson is a rare talent, and it is possible that the Raiders will come to regret giving up on him so soon.
At the very least, he can still be an elite return man, but his upside reaches far beyond that.
It takes some players longer to get acclimated to the NFL than others, and if that is the case with Patterson, then this is a trade that could prove to be a major steal for New England.
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