With the San Francisco 49ers falling one half short of winning the Super Bowl, they are determined more than ever to get the job done in 2013. An already loaded roster, the 49ers have the luxury of targeting certain positions as they try and make Super Bowl XLVIII a reality. So which positions will they target? On paper, their top three needs include guard, defensive line, and cornerback. However, with many of those positions likely to be addressed in free-agency, that leaves the 49ers to focus on wide receivers in the draft. With an estimated 14 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 49ers can add a fountain of youth to an already young roster, one player in particular is Louisiana Tech product Quinton Patton.
Unlike his peers, Patton had a tough road to success. He started off at Coffeyville Community College for three years, before eventually transferring to Louisiana Tech. Although he made headlines as a Raven, Patton flew under the radar, as only four college teams recruited him, including: South Florida, Minnesota, Troy, and Louisiana Tech. However, despite this setback, Patton thrived as a Bulldog, compiling 183 receptions for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. Furthermore, first-round prospect CB Johnthan Banks had high praise for Patton saying:
I feel like Quinton Patton from Louisiana Tech is the best receiver I’ve played against since I’ve been here. I’ve gone against some good ones in the SEC, too, but he’s probably the most complete.
So with high praise coming from his peers, will GM Trent Baalke take a risk on a small town kid? Absolutely! For one, Baalke loves drafting talent from the WAC, evidenced by Mike Iupati (Idaho) and Colin Kaepernick (Nevada). In addition, Patton provides a deep threat, no current Niner receiver possesses, a skill-set Baalke covets.
Also, Patton provides a physical presence down the middle, by making tough catches in traffic. His natural ability to catch balls with his hands, away from his body, is what separates him from the rest of the pack. A fluid route runner who can stretch the field, Patton is the perfect compliment to WR Michael Crabtree.
With that said, his greatest asset may not be his hands but rather his downfield blocking. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh loves team players, and the fact that Patton shows fight as a run blocker signifies he’s the consumate team player. A player willing to hustle down field to spring a runner, Patton is as feisty as they come. Simply put, a 49er!
Whether the 49ers draft him in the first or second-round remains to be seen. However, I have Patton ranked on my big board as the number three wide receiver, behind Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson. In my opinion, a true sleeper pick, and one the 49ers should definitely roll the dice on, as Patton is one of my favorites!