The San Francisco 49ers have one of the league’s deepest receiver pools entering 2014 and, although it may not be the most talented, it will go a long way in determining the success of QB Colin Kaepernick this season. From veterans Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree to younger unknowns such as Bruce Ellington and Jon Baldwin, none is more intriguing than second-year receiver Quinton Patton.
Patton, a 6-foot, 200 pound receiver, is a classic fit as a slot receiver in San Francisco’s offense. Patton offers a ton as a “hands catcher” and plays with a feisty attitude that resembles his head coach’s a bit.
But Patton really struggled to make the adjustment from Louisiana Tech to the NFL during his rookie season. The stud receiver only played in six games (no starts) and posted a stat-line of three receptions for 34 yards and 1 rush for 26 yards.
Patton struggled putting his game together during his rookie season. The former collegiate standout struggled beating press coverage in practices, showed questionable attitude, drive, desire, and concentration, and was unable to make an impact for a team that desperately needed receiver help outside of Boldin due to Crabtree’s absence early on in 2013.
Patton will likely compete for playing time this season with a cluster of receivers in Ellington, Baldwin, seasoned veteran Brandon Lloyd and offseason acquisition Stevie Johnson making Patton’s chances of making an impact this season quite slim.
We can assume the team will hold onto Boldin, Crabtree, Johnson and Ellington for the time being, leaving the fifth receiver spot to Baldwin, Patton and Lloyd to fight over. While Lloyd is as reliable as they come, his age could count against him and leave him looking for another job. Baldwin certainly has the size needed to be a dominant receiver, but lacks the skill-set and focus to be a top flight receiver at the NFL level.
Patton should steal the No. 5 receiver spot from both players, but nothing is ever surprising in the NFL, especially with that much talent at the receiver position.