And while we're on the topic of wide receivers, both coming out of college and in free agency, let me address Cordarrelle Patterson here.
While at the Indianapolis combine he met with the Dolphins. He's living in South Florida now.
The Dolphins need a big-play wide receiver. Patterson runs like a deer and has shown ability to get deep. General manager Jeff Ireland loves big wide receivers. Patterson is 6-2 and 215 pounds.
Do you get all the connections?
I get it, too. It kind of makes sense for a team with the No. 12 overall selection that perhaps Patterson is a fit in so many different ways.
But I cannot tell you I love the kid at No. 12. He's not Julio Jones, although he says that is who he patterns himself after. He's not A.J. Green, either. He reminds more of Darrius Heyward-Bey or Kenny Britt. He's also very raw.
There is another thing: Patterson went the junior college route before going to Tennessee in 2012. Why? Well, Patterson struggled to keep up academically at times. Thus there are questions about how quickly Patterson will recognize coverages and learn plays and adjustments in the NFL.
The Dolphins run a fairly complex offensive system and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman last year had no compunction about leaving behind young players that didn't learn quickly and play fast enough as a result of the uncertainty in their heads. Tight end Michael Egnew comes to mind.
Even veteran Jabar Gaffney struggled to pick up Miami's system.
Well, it could be argued, Patterson learned quickly enough at Tennessee to burst on the scene quickly. But that isn't completely correct. He was expected to be the Vols third WR but was actually thrust into greater playing time out of necessity when teammate Da'Rick Rogers was kicked off the team.
There are also questions about Patterson being a one-year flash rather than a consistent performer.
Anyway, Patterson spoke to the media at the combine. This is how it went:
(On path to Indy): "It was a good path, man. I had to go to junior college and ended up at Tennessee.
I wouldn’t change it for nothing. Everyplace I went, I enjoyed every second of it."
(On whether JUCO in Hutchinson, Kansas was tough): "Oh, yeah, there were a lot of times I doubted because I had to leave high school and go all the way to Hutchinson in Kansas. I would call my mom every day and ask her if she still thought I needed to do this and she said, ‘Yeah, it’s been your
dream for a long time so just make sure you stick with it."
(On the season at Tennessee): "I wanted to go in and try to be the best at my position and hope my dream would come true and be in the NFL."
(On whether he can help himself at the Combine): "Go in Saturday and Sunday and give it my best and make sure I do everything right so teams can look at me and say good things about myself."
(On whether you need a big week to go in the first round): "I know I can help myself a lot. I know what I can do. I’m going to go in and just give it my all."
(On whether he patterns himself after any receiver?): "Yeah, Julio Jones."
(On people saying you’re a one-year wonder): "I didn’t expect to be a one-year-and-done but we had the coaching change and everything was getting a little crazy, so I wanted to get out of there."
(Name three strengths): "Speed, catching and scoring."
(On expectations for NFL): "The things I did in college, I expect to come in as a rookie and be a good rookie and be a Pro Bowler."
(On experts saying he's raw): "I don’t listen to anything anyone says about my ability. God gave it to me and I go out every day and practice hard at practice, and in the games I expect big things out of myself."
(On going to the Dolphins): "I haven’t talked to them like that but I have a meeting set with them later on today. Miami is my home and I’ll do whatever I have to do."
(On being the No. 1 WR drafted): "I really didn’t even think like that. There’s rumors coming around that I can be and I hope this weekend I can show that I can be that No. 1 receiver."
(On possibly going to Carolina): "My mama, she talks about that all the time. If I could be that close to home, I know she’d be at every game possible. When I was little, I used to always think about playing for the Panthers. If that dream comes true, then it comes true."
(On what he must improve): "My route-running and learning coverages, just getting better at that."
(On expecting to be good as a junior at UT): "I didn’t, because when I went to Tennessee, I didn’t even think I was going to be a starter. But then I went in and some things happened at Tennessee and people started expecting big things from me, so I had to fill that role."
(On whether he's a top 10 player): "I say I’m a top-15 pick but I can’t control what coaches think and they’re the ones that make the decisions. If they see me in the top 15, top 10, then I respect that because I think I am."