Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been regarded for five NFL seasons as a work in progress. He may finally be making some actual progress in his work.
As explained by Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, Patterson has looked good so far in his first training camp with the Patriots.
“I mean, I’m a football player,” Patterson said after making a leaping, one-handed catch in practice. “We come, that’s what we do. We come out and just try to make plays and try to make each other better each and every day. Don’t matter what the situation is. No matter who guards you. Just go out there, have fun and just make plays.”
Coach Bill Belichick is taking notice.
“He’s a hard-working guy,” Belichick said of the former Vikings first-round receiver whom the Patriots acquired in a trade with the Raiders. (That sounds vaguely familiar.) “He’s out there every single day. He’s improved every day. He has skills in offense and the kicking game in a number of different areas, return skills, coverage skills, blocking skills, catching skills. He’s got some experience, so he’s able to utilize that. He understands his skill set and how it matches up against different types of players.”
The unofficial depth chart doesn’t mesh with the praise, showing Patterson as a fourth-stringer. Given his value to special teams and overall versatility, he seems to be destined to win a spot on the 53-man roster.
Patterson has been a great kickoff returner from the moment he arrived in the NFL. During his contract year with the Vikings, he added punt-team gunner to his special-team repertoire, and he has been both a running and receiving threat during scrimmage plays. But he never has been a high-end offensive weapon.
Maybe, in New England, it’s finally going to happen.