The Minnesota Vikings have reshuffled their wide receiver group a bit this offseason, trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks and signing Greg Jennings, who had spent his entire career with the rival Green Bay Packers. The Harvin trade gave Minnesota another first round pick (25th overall), and they should still use an early pick in April on a wide receiver.
Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech had a big senior season in 2012, finishing in the top-10 on the country in receptions (104-tied for fifth in the country), receiving yards (1,392-fifth in the country) and touchdowns (13-tied for fifth). He also had 79 catches for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior in 2011 after coming to Louisiana Tech from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College.
The Vikings should have at least a passing interest in virtually every draft-eligible wide receiver right now, but is Patton a good fit? Let’s take a look.
Weight: 204 lbs.
– Has deceptive speed; gets off the line of scrimmage quickly to eat up cushion
– Has good hand-eye coordination; consistently catches the ball away from his body
– Is a fluid route runner; sets up defenders well by varying his movement
– Shows good balance and body control; adjusts to the ball well
– Is a willing and aggressive blocker
– Is light on his feet; can make defenders miss
– Lacks elite top-end speed (4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine)
– Struggles to get separation on deep routes; is not explosive out of his breaks and at the top of his routes
– Needs to improve his concentration to make tough catches when defenders battle with him
– Is not overly strong or powerful after the catch
Patton’s numbers were inflated by being part of the nation’s highest-scoring offense (51.5 points per game) last season and playing against a lower level of competition in the WAC certainly played a role as well. But his best game as a senior (21 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns) came against a solid Texas A&M defense, and that should not be ignored either.
Patton is gaining some buzz as a potential late first-round pick, and his showing at his Pro Day (scheduled for Tuesday) will go a long way toward determining when he goes off the board. Patton’s red zone skills should appeal to the Vikings, since they need better performance from their wide receivers in that area of the field, and he would surely benefit from working around a veteran like Jennings.
NFL Comparisons: Reggie Wayne/Brandon Lloyd
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.