Back in 2013, the Minnesota Vikings made Cordarrelle Patterson the 29th pick of the NFL draft's first round. Patterson was 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. He was a remarkable athlete with incredible run after the catch (or carry) ability, as well as elite kick return skills.
Patterson's rookie season in Minnesota was a solid one, as he totaled 45 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns, 12 carries for 158 yards and three more touchdowns, and made the Pro Bowl while leading the NFL in both average yards per kick return and return touchdowns. But then Patterson's career stalled out.
He's still one of the league's top kick return men, but his 469 receiving yards during his rookie season are still a career-high, as are his four receiving touchdowns, 158 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns. In four subsequent seasons with Minnesota and Oakland, Patterson averaged 30 catches for 289 yards and a touchdown, and just eight carries for 74 yards and a score.
Earlier this offseason, though, Patterson was traded to the New England Patriots, whose specialty is putting players in the best possible position to succeed. And that's exactly what Pats coach Bill Belichick told Patterson he's going to do.
Even if he's just a good returner and and speedy gadget threat for the Pats, that will be a nice addition element of their offense; but the player Patterson "should be" is a really, really good one considering all his talents, and it will be a scary proposition for defenses around the league if Belichick, Josh McDaniels, and Tom Brady can tap into it in a way nobody else has been able to throughout Patterson's career.