The Patriots have already suffered a lot of injuries at wide receiver this preseason, but Cordarrelle Patterson may be the answer to Tom Brady’s prayers.
There’s no doubt that the Patriots will have a prolific offense this season with Tom Brady at the controls. There are, however, real questions about who the ageless quarterback will throw the ball to this season. Injuries at the position give Cordarrelle Patterson a real chance to emerge as a top target in New England.
The team has already released Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell due to injury concerns. Originally, both players were a part of Bill Belichick’s two-deep at the wide receiver position. Now both players are on the street hoping to catch on with another team.
The Patriots have added Eric Decker to help boost the receiving corps, but the departures have still opened up a massive opportunity for another receiver to step up and grab a meaningful role in the passing attack. Patterson is the most talented athlete in the group. That gives him a real chance to bust out in 2018.
Previously, he’s shown the ability to excel as a kick returner. He’s electric when he gets his hands on the ball in the open field. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to really establish himself as a wide receiver during his days in Oakland. That’s a big reason why they were willing to let him leave for New England this offseason.
Belichick isn’t a coach prone to lavish praise on his players, but he did have some positive things to say about Patterson. In particular, the Patriots head man likes Patterson’s work ethic and diverse set of skills. He credits the former Tennessee standout or being a “hard-working guy.” That might be the nicest thing Belichick has ever said about a wide receiver.
If Patterson can nail down a starting spot during Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension to start the year, he could emerge as a crucial player for the Patriots offense. Brady prides himself on his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. That makes short routes his throw of choice on a lot of downs. If Patterson can break some of those short passes into big gains it could really add another wrinkle to the Patriots’ attack.
Patterson has a lot of player in his own abilities, but he does admit that he needs to stop “thinking so much” out on the field. That should naturally happen when he becomes more and more comfortable with the team’s playbook. He faces a race to learn the nuances of the offense before Week 1 arrives.
At the very least, Patterson should get plenty of chances to make plays in this offense. If he takes advantage of those chances, he could put up big numbers in New England. He’s a player to keep an eye on for the Patriots and your fantasy team in 2018.