There is no doubt that the only things on the San Francisco 49ers‘ minds heading into the 2014 NFL season are locking down the NFC West and challenging their rivals to the north, the Seattle Seahawks for dominance in the division. Locking up Anquan Boldin for a few more years and getting Michael Crabtree back to full strength will make them a much more dangerous team early on in the season than they looked last year. However, the team knows that in order to complete their offense they need to find a legitimate WR3 to really bring the whole unit together. The team inquired about just any free agent receiver they could find in this years market and so far haven’t turned up with anything.
However, the team may not need to look any further than their own backyard as they still have the young Quinton Patton on their roster. The former Louisiana Tech standout turned heads during his senior year, reeling in 104 passes. When he was drafted by San Francisco in the 2013 NFL draft, many felt that electric rookie would translate his game very well from college to the pros, however, he broke his foot in the preseason and missed most of the year. Last year can be considered a lost season for Patton.
Moving forward, Patton has the skill set to be a productive WR-3 now in the 49ers run-heavy offense and the upside to take over Boldin’s role when he rides off into the sunset in a couple of years. He has excellent hands and will improve his route-running skills with more time on the field.
The most important factor that fantasy football owners will have to think about when considering adding Patton to their rosters this season is how well he will gel with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The QB is still developing himself, and he has a tendency to favor the receivers he trusts, so Patton will have his work cut out for him as he’ll compete for receptions with Boldin, Crabtree, and Vernon Davis.
If Patton can develop somewhat of a rapport with Kaepernick and improves on his route running this season, he will totally be worth a late draft pick and a possible WR4 with upside in fantasy. He is a player who is worth monitoring heading into training camp this year as he may have the ability to garner “sleeper” status.