WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Drafted: Fourth round, No. 128
With the 49ers securing receiver Quinton Patton in the fourth round it was another steal in the draft for general manager Trent Baalke. Many had Patton going in the second round because of his combination of being an outstanding receiver and his great blocking skills. He was one of the most complete receives available in the draft and the Niners got him in the fourth round.
While at Louisiana Tech, Patton recorded 2,594 receiving yards, averaged 14.2 yards per catch and had 24 touchdowns in two seasons. With wide receivers Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham suffering ACL injuries last season, Patton gives the offense extra insurance in case either is not 100% or suffers another injury. While Patton’s impact may not be fully felt this year, it will in 2014 as Anquan Boldin and Manningham will be free agents after the upcoming season.
STRENGTHS – Patton has good height and a sturdy frame, which allows him to absorb punishment and fight through injuries to stay on the field. He displays the natural hands to snag balls outside of his frame and has a solid radius for a player his size. He is a savvy route runner that uses an excellent combination of foot quickness, explosion and physicality to run precise lines and consistently create separation. Against off coverage he eats up the gap quickly and does an excellent job of disguising his routes with subtle fakes before his cuts. He is an aggressive, instinctual runner after the catch and while not physically dominant, he is a competent blocker because of his consistent effort.
WEAKNESSES – Patton has good timed speed as well as short area quickness and burst, but he lacks the long speed to consistently separate or run away from defenders down-field. He lacks the length and strength to consistently win contested balls, as defenders are able to reach around and break up passes when able to stay on his hip. While he displays natural hands, at times he turns his focus up field before securing the catch and drops easy balls.
SUMMARY – Quinton Patton was a fun receiver to evaluate because he is such a polished route runner with the burst and quickness needed to consistently create separation against all types of coverage. He makes very subtle fakes against man coverage, and commits to his pivot step on his break which allows him to explode into his route. He possesses quite hands and consistently catches the ball away from his frame, but will at times lose focus and drop easy balls and does not have the hand strength to consistently win 50/50 balls. His top end speed makes him a solid threat after the catch but he isn’t a threat to simply run away from defenders down-field. While some teams will gamble early on with more dynamic homerun threats at the position, whichever team selects Patton will be getting a dependable #2 WR that is ready to step in and produce immediately at the NFL level.