Feb. 26, 2017
Oakland's New Weapon
Cordarrelle Patterson is now an Oakland Raider. This could easily be the most underrated move of Free Agency. He has performed best as a kick and punt returner however, things will change in Oakland..
The general consensus from Vikings fans on Twitter yesterday was "Good riddance", "He's just a return man" and "He's not very good anyways". Is it true he hasn't lived up to expectations in Minnesota? Absolutely. Will things change in Oakland? Absolutely.
The difference for Patterson will be the players around him. A turnstile at QB for most of his career, (Freeman, Ponder, Cassell, Bridgewater, Hill, Bradford). He will finally have stability at the Quarterback position, Derek Carr, who is without question one of the up and comers in the league. It's just not the QB which has hindered Patterson's productivity. It's the other receivers on his team. Players like Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, Adam Thielen, Charles Johnson, Kyle Rudolph and Laquon Treadwell is not very impressive. This all changes with Oakland. He now gets to play with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree 2 of the best Wide Receivers in the game. Here is the difference, the receivers in Minnesota are competent, they can play the position but won't be anything special. Cooper and Crabtree are special. They demand attention.
Before arriving in Oakland, Cooper was going to be demanding attention from Corners and Safety's that only rivaled Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones. After being drafted and being paired with Michael Crabtree, they can't double cover or bracket Cooper,, they have to account for somebody else. Now here is where things get interesting, Patterson isn't the best route runner, however he thrives in space using his speed and agility. The space created by the clearing out of the defense that Cooper and Crabtree do almost every single play. Using a Safety to cover over the top on Cooper and Crabtree will leave a ton of empty space for Patterson to take advantage. Getting Patterson the ball on short crossing routes, screens, hitch routes and maybe even a jet sweep will add an entire new dimension to the Raider offense.
If Patterson is so great at that, why couldn't he do it in Minnesota? Because the players around him weren't any good. A player like Patterson needs quality teammates around him to be successful. Minnesota's QB and WR situation were not doing him any favors. He is a 3rd receiver, someone who isn't the primary option but can make big plays when called upon. The best comparison I see (ironically), is Brett Favre era Percy Harvin. The way Harvin was used with Favre is very similar to how Patterson should/could be used in Oakland. Making plays in space with the occasional deep ball. If Oakland uses him in this role, they might have what it takes to make it to the Super Bowl.