It’s time for another installment of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Sanchez of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft. In his Mock, Sanchez projected the Steelers to select Cordarrelle Patterson with their 1st Round pick:
Pittsburgh is looking to get younger at linebacker, but Patterson could be too good to pass up. After losing Mike Wallace and potentially losing Emmanuel Sanders next offseason, the Steelers need to add weapons for Ben Roethlisberger if they hope to return to the top of the AFC North.
Just like he did two weeks ago, Sanchez maintains that Patterson will a) fall to Pittsburgh at #17, and b) Colbert & Co. will make him their selection.
I certainly would not blame the Steelers’ front office if they decide to target an electrifying play-maker like Cordarrelle if he was available for them to acquire in Round 1. In fact, the wide receiver corps could stand to produce more “splash plays,” and Pittsburgh’s special teams units could use an explosive return man to field kickoffs and punts.
Although Patterson enjoyed a fine debut season at Tennessee in 2012, I do not believe that the former JUCO transfer projects to be as solid of a fit with the Steelers as other wide receivers in this draft class would. In fact, I have some doubts as to how well the former Volunteer pass-catcher will transfer to the pro level at the wide receiver position.
Despite the fact that Patterson made highlight reel plays on offense and special teams, he was not as highly productive as some would think during his first and only season at the FBS-level. Overall, Patterson (6’2″ 216 lbs.) recorded only 46 catches for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Volunteers’ #2 target to Justin Hunter.
I also completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald who said that the pass-catcher “disappeared” for long periods of time as a wide receiver during games, especially against strong foes like Alabama, Mississippi State, and South Carolina (combined 6 catches, 76 yards, 1 touchdown).
In addition to Patterson’s up-and-down production at Tennessee, he is a far less “polished” receiver than others in this draft class. By this I mean that the former Volunteer possesses nowhere near the hands and the route-running ability of other projected Round 1 prospects like Tavon Austin, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, and Hunter.
Granted, I project Patterson’s “ceiling” to be much higher than Austin’s, Allen’s, Hunter’s, and Hopkins’. In fact, Patterson already has the cut-back ability and speed to be considered one of the better kickoff return men at the pro level right now. But if Cordarrelle cannot develop into a more fundamentally sound receiver, then he has the word “bust” written all over him.
If the Steelers were not in the middle of a rebuilding process, then I would love to see them take a chance on a player with Patterson’s potential at #17 overall. Unfortunately, I believe that the “risk” with Patterson far outweighs the “reward,” and Colbert & Co. might be wise to look at other pass-catchers to help at the wide receiver position on Day 1 or Day 2.