Cordarrelle Patterson already has a fan in James White.
While speaking to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald at Boston Children’s Hospital earlier this week, the Patriots running back fawned over his newest teammate on offense. And White just hasn’t been a fan of Patterson’s work in the NFL, he’s an original fan stretching back to his days at Tennessee.
“I’ve seen that guy play since college make explosive plays all across the field whether on offense, kick return, punt return. He’s definitely a game-changer,” White told Guregian. “He works hard, he’s tough. He’s big, fast, physical. He can bring a lot to the table.”
New England traded for Patterson in a deal with the Raiders back in March. For the wide receiver/kick returner the Patriots surrendered a 2018 fifth round draft pick. Along with Patterson, the Pats also received a 2018 sixth rounder.
Carrying the torch from White’s point of Patterson’s ability to bring more than one skill to the table for the Patriots, the veteran wide out has been an extremely versatile weapon on special teams where he’s looked at as one of the most prolific return men in the NFL. Over the course of his career he has two seasons where he went over a thousand yards in total returns and five touchdowns. Last year for the Raiders, he returned 19 kicks for 538 yards giving him a 28.3 yards per return average.
While Patterson has been able to be a factor in that area of his game, it’s his ability on offense that’s been inconsistent. The 27-year-old’s best seasons as a pass catcher came in the first and final years of his tenure with the Vikings where he saw at least 70 targets and was able to put up at least 45 grabs. For the Raiders last season he was used as more of a gadget player on offense catching 31 of his 42 targets for 309 yards. He also rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
A lot of that inconsistency could be thanks in part to coaches not really knowing how to maximize his talents.
Enter: Bill Belichick.
While appearing on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football earlier this offseason, Patterson told the crew what Belichick promised him following the trade. According to Patterson, Belichick said that “I don’t know what you’ve been through in the past, but we get the job done here. We’re going to turn you into the player you should be.”
There’s a ton of promise surrounding the capabilities that Patterson possesses, but he will have to battle for snaps, looks from Tom Brady and possibly even a roster space this upcoming season due to New England’s crowded receiving unit. Along with Patterson, the Patriots also have Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Matthews, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Cody Holister, Riley McCarron and Braxton Berrios on the roster.
It won’t be easy, but if he can separate himself from the pack a bit, he could have one heck of a season in 2018.