Even before he stepped foot onto the field, Quinton Patton impressed coaches, teammates and fans with his eagerness to get to the San Francisco 49ers‘ team facilitiies to get to work.
He had made a strong impression with the effort and work he displayed in rookie OTAs and so far, there has been nothing to suggest that Patton has had any drop-off in his work in getting to understand the offense.
During the OTAs, Patton has made it a point of asking and soliciting advice from the veteran wide receivers and tight ends on the team, and in particular from Anquan Boldin. Patton stated that Boldin has helped him work on his release from the line of scrimmage, while Vernon Davis has worked with him on extending his hands when making catches.
As OTAs wind down and we start heading into training camp starting late July, Patton and his potential role with the team remains what I expected when he was drafted by the 49ers.
Before the injury to Michael Crabtree, it was realistic to expect Patton to be the potential no. 3/slot wide receiver, or at the very least competing for that spot with A.J. Jenkins. Post Crabtree injury, it still looks likely that Patton will be in that battle, but it is not outlandish to think that he could fight to be the no. 2 wide receiver in the offense.
Aside from competing with guys like Jenkins, Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham, who will be returning from injury and looking for playing time, keep an eye out for Jenkins to potentially be utilized and tried out on special teams. With Tedd Ginn, Jr. no longer on the squad, there will be the possibility that Patton could lend help to the return position if needed.
Patton has put himself in a position where his work ethic and attitude have earned him the opportunity to get the chance at battling for a starting wide receiver spot. Entering training camp, I look forward to seeing how he continues to work and develop as a rookie wide receiver and who knows, maybe be can be a contributor in the same way a Ty Hilton was for the Indianapolis Colts last season.