In his one year at the University of Tennesse before turning pro, Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. He also had a 25.3 punt-return average and a 26.8 kick-return average.
The fact that he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 37 inches and broad jumped 10-feet-8 at the NFL combine indicates a wealth of potential.
Physically, few can deny that he’s equipped to be an NFL standout. The only question is how well and how quickly will he learn to play at the professional level.
“The playbook is definitely my biggest challenge,” Patterson said. “It’s a pretty big playbook and they’re throwing a lot of stuff at us in a short period of time to see how we handle it.
“Fortunately, Joe Webb has been helping me out a lot and so has Greg (Jennings). Greg told me not to worry about the pressure, to just go out and be myself.”
Patterson is aware that many offensive skill players make their initial NFL impacts on special teams. If that’s the route he has to take to make a contribution, he’s fine with that.
“Whatever the coaches have planned for me, that’s going to be my role,” he said. “I love returning, I love the open field .... but who doesn’t?”
Special teams coach Mike Priefer sees a very high upside for Patterson based on what he saw on film and in mini-camp.
“He is so talented and just such a great athlete,” Priefer said. “I think he’s done a great job on just working on some of the little things; keeping his elbows in tighter, keeping his hands up, keeping his hands away from his body a little bit; just some of the smaller details.
“I think he’s more comfortable catching kickoffs right now than punts like a lot of young guys, but we’re making progress in both phases. You don’t want to overload any rookie because I know he’ll contribute on offense as well but I think the sky is the limit for this young athlete, I really do.”