Here’s a fun game. Tell me what each of the Vikings’ Top 3 WRs have in common (graphs via mockdraftable.com):
They each ran a 4.42 40 at the Combine.
So did Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson:
OK, so I’m certainly not suggesting that’s why the Vikings would draft him. Instead, take a look at the numbers for the Vikings’ top 3 WRs in 2012:
24 NFL players had more yards than the Vikings’ top 3 WRs combined last year. Obviously, that was due in part to Greg Jennings missing 8 games and playing in a crowded Packers WR corps, but clearly, the Vikings’ wideouts are not a strength.
Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the more interesting players in this draft. As noted above, he ran a 4.42 40, but did so at 6’2, 216. Unlike the other Viking receivers, Patterson has good size. Jennings and Wright are both sub-6’0, and while Simpson has good height at 6’2, he’s skinny at 190.
Patterson is extremely athletic, and he doubles as a returner. The biggest knock on him, however, is that he’s “raw.” My biggest concern would be his lack of production as a WR at Tennessee. In the last 10 years, barring players that had extenuating circumstances (Dez Bryant, Percy Harvin, Matt Jones), there have been 5 WRs drafted in the first round who caught less than 50 passes their last year in college. Demaryius Thomas aside, that list of players isn’t very pretty:
Note that each player in the above list either had great size, freaky Combine measurables, or both. However, they all lacked actual production in college, in terms of catching a lot of passes. Additionally, Thomas’ numbers are forgivable since he played in a run-heavy option offense at Georgia Tech.
Will Cordarrelle Patterson become the next Demaryius Thomas, or will he be another one of those other disappointments? The Vikings are in desperate need of a playmaker in their offense to take some pressure off of Adrian Peterson. Perhaps the Vikes will take another shot at a less productive project with huge upside like they did with Troy Williamson in 2005.