DeAndre Hopkins vs Cordarrelle Patterson

January 3rd, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

DeAndre Hopkins dominated LSU's secondary, something not many people achieve

DeAndre Hopkins is Mr. Consistent – a clutch receiver without the eye-popping physical qualities. He makes up for it by getting the basics right – he catches with his hands, doesn’t have many drops, runs good routes and makes crucial rather than explosive plays.

Cordarrelle Patterson is the X-Factor player of the 2013 draft. He’s 6-3/6-4, could run a 4.35 at the combine and hits home runs. He’s a threat to score every time he gets the football, setting a school record for all purpose yards in his first season with Tennessee. Patterson doesn’t play with great technique, but he’s a playmaker.

Which is the better fit for the Seahawks?

On the one hand they have a young quarterback who needs as many consistent targets as possible. When it’s third down in a big game, Russell Wilson needs to know there are guys on the field he can rely on. He also needs as much dynamism as possible in this offense. Seattle likes to make quick strikes down field, usually off play action. Speed, height and reach are crucial as Wilson looks to exploit single coverage and jump-ball situations.

Hopkins is no slouch and we’re not talking about a mediocre athlete who can only run short, inside routes. You don’t get to 1405 yards and 18 touchdowns playing steady football. He can get downfield, he can run after the catch. Yet he doesn’t compare favourably with the statistical top-five receivers in the NFL who all weigh +225lbs and stand at least 6-3 tall. He compares favourably to Roddy White, but there aren’t many dominating receivers who play outside at his size.

Patterson had 1,858 all-purpose yards in 2012 – more than any other player in the SEC. He scored five receiving touchdowns and three rushing – plus two extra scores via punt and kick returns. However, he also faced something of a learning curve in his first season in the NCAA. His technique looks off and he looks every bit a player fresh out of the JUCO ranks. He gets his body into awkward positions to catch the ball and doesn’t often extend his hands to make a completion. These things can be coached and he has the athletic prowess to make for a worthy project.

Let’s look at the tape…

DeAndre Hopkins vs LSU

This was one of the all-time best performances I’ve seen from a receiver, mainly due to the sheer quantity of clutch plays. Sammy Watkins left the game in Clemson’s first offensive series through injury, meaning the LSU secondary could zone in on Hopkins. He still found ways to get open despite double coverage. He still made difficult passes with a corner draped all over him. He had two difficult touchdown receptions, several third down completions and made the play of the game on 4th and 16 to extend the game-winning drive.

Look at the technique at 0:35 in the video where he extends his arms to make a catch for the first down. Hopkins locates the ball mid-route, reaches out and plucks the football out of the air. Textbook reception.

At 1:49 he absorbs a holding call against the corner, fights off some physical coverage and still locates the back-shoulder throw for a completion. He needs to prove he can be physical at 6-1 and 200lbs.

The two touchdowns at 2:25 and 5:57 emphasise how crisp he runs his routes, how he can make difficult catches in traffic and convert on key downs. Bear in mind LSU were fully aware Tajh Boyd would be looking for Hopkins on both plays.

At 3:07 he flashes his athleticism to make a man miss and turn a short gain into a first down. The 4th and 16 conversion comes at 6:48 and prevents LSU from winning the game. Again – another tough grab.

The one thing that keeps jumping out – you don’t need to make a perfect throw with this guy. He’s going to adjust to the ball in the air, extend and complete the catch. He might not be the most dynamic receiver in college football. He might not run the fastest forty yard dash. But he’s a driven and ambitious player who will work hard to have an impact.

We talked about his character and drive to succeed in a piece earlier this week. I have no doubts that he’ll work hard at his craft. His personality and attitude appears to compare favourably to Julio Jones, who won major brownie points with the Atlanta Falcons because they knew they could trust him to work at his craft.

There are some issues too – as always. Hopkins is a pure hands catcher but he doesn’t necessarily have the strongest hands. Sometimes when a ball is a little high and he has to extend, he misses the catch. As cornerbacks in the NFL get bigger, questions are going to be asked if a player of this stature can win a high percentage of jump passes (a heavy staple in Seattle’s offense). Teams are looking for big receivers who don’t necessarily run a 4.3, but can be competitive and win 1vs1 match-ups in the air.

Neither is Hopkins a truly explosive player. While you can never truly have enough reliable pass-catchers, do the Seahawks need to look for something they don’t have? Is this an offense that lacks more of an X-Factor type – someone with unique dynamism who can make quick strikes downfield or major YAC? Or can we sometimes be distracted by flashy playmakers when really the core quality a receiver needs is the ability to get open and make a play. The question becomes, can Hopkins continue to get open and make regular plays in the bigger, faster world of the NFL?

One example that says he can is the game above. LSU’s secondary remains one of the best in college football. And he dominated them to the tune of 13 catches for 191 yards and two vital touchdowns. GM’s, scouts and coaches around the league will turn to this game when they sit down to scout Hopkins… and they’ll like what they see.

Cordarrelle Patterson vs Florida, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Georgia

Only the Florida game in the tape above was among Patterson’s most productive (eight catches, 75 yards and a touchdown) in 2012. By the end of the season Tennessee were just trying to find ways to get him the ball – thus why you see him taking a lot of snaps as a running back. In part this is a concern. His consistency as a receiver took a hit after week three vs Florida when teams started using physical corners to disrupt his routes. The solution? Find other ways to get him the ball because he’s too much of a playmaker. They did that, and he scored touchdowns and made big plays.

He’s pretty much the ‘Ying’ to Hopkins’ ‘Yang’. Patterson hasn’t been a production machine who churns out 6-8 catches a game. Yet sometimes he only needs one catch or one possession to have a major impact.

Here are some of the good plays from the tape above. At 2:28 he’s being held all the way by a defensive back, but he keeps his focus and extends to make a smart diving catch. We see the best example of strong hands at 7:06 when he plucks the ball out of the air for a nice completion.

He’s capable of trick plays – something that has been more of a feature for the Seahawks this year. At 3:29 he throws a pass on a fake run and at 4:46 he scores on a reverse against Missouri. Perhaps the best play in the tape is at 11:37 where he takes a reverse and is set to throw to Justin Hunter. He’s not open, so Patterson has to pull the ball down and run. Which he does, finding the edge and running half the field for a spectacular touchdown.

At 7:51 he flashes some of that punt return quality before taking one all the way at 10:04 against Vanderbilt – managing to avoid hitting the turf despite a heavy tackle, keeping his balance and taking it home.

We see further evidence of his elusiveness at 5:41 when he appears to be bottled up for a short loss only to extend the pay, stretch it out and make something out of nothing. Great athleticism.

Then there are the concerns, such as the awful drop against Georgia at 10:59. It’s a perfect throw by Tyler Bray, right on the money for a touchdown. Patterson has his guy beat – all he has to do is make a simple catch and he runs it home for a score. Bad, bad drop. There’s a further sloppy play at 2:39 going for a one-handed effort when two hands and a little more commitment makes a big gain.

Against Akron (not featured in the video) he was responsible for a pick-six by rounding off his route and not challenging for the ball. His catching technique is far from perfect – even when he makes plays. Patterson has a tendency to contort his body and make life difficult for himself. He’s more of a body catcher and let’s it get into his chest/stomach too much. There’s not a great deal of evidence on tape of him winning jump balls.

At the same time, you cannot expect the finished article from what essentially amounts to a freshman in college. He transferred from the JUCO ranks and started in week one, going straight into the line-up to replace dismissed receiver Da’Rick Rogers. In his first year in the league, you’ll probably throw him out there as part of some package plays. Let him run some deep routes and return some kicks. It’s bonus time to get coached in the pro’s. And it’s only then that you can expect to see anything like a complete player. In the meantime you might just get a really dangerous weapon who can still make some big plays. Score some touchdowns. Seattle took a similar approach with Kam Chancellor in year one and it paid dividends. Golden Tate has looked sharp after two years having little impact. There’s precedent there for bringing guys along slowly knowing the upside and potential at stake.

What is Patterson’s ceiling? He has the speed. He has the size. He makes game-changing plays and scores cheap points. Essentially, the sky’s the limit. But you might also have to stomach some of the mistakes to get to the promise land.

So what’s it to be?

The Seahawks have looked at both kinds of players in the draft. Bruce Irvin was a former JUCO transfer with raw potential and mass-production in college in a specialist role. He was judged to be a top-15 pick because he fit the teams scheme (although Pete Carroll’s familiarity with Irvin also played a key part). Patterson does fit the quick-strike offense, he can work in trick plays and he’s explosive.

On the other hand, they’ve also gone the route of very solid, productive players who are consistent without prototypical size – with one obvious example of that. And I don’t think they’ll be averse to take players like that in round one to help that particular player reach his maximum potential. Consistency is not an ugly word for a wide receiver and Hopkins simply gets the job done.

So what’s it to be? Let us know what you think.

87 Responses to “DeAndre Hopkins vs Cordarrelle Patterson”

  1. Cameron says:

    If you had to venture a guess, which one of these two players would you say is most likely to be available in the middle of the 2nd round?

  2. Brandon says:

    I look at what Seattle already has. If you want receivers to fill the “just get deep for an explosive play while Wilson scutters around” role, we’ve already got two guys doing that. What we have only one of is someone who will flash open at the top of Wilson’s drop and help him avoid having to scramble in the first place.

    That says Hopkins to me. It’s true that he’s neither incredibly tall nor incredibly fast, but given Wilson’s proclivity for extending plays, he’s fast/tall enough to where Seattle can afford to pass on those talents. What they can’t afford is the constant risk of Wilson exposing himself to tackles, even if he is smart about sliding at good times. He was taking some awful risks against the Rams and is clearly still prone to hanging in there for the 400-yard touchdown sometimes. The more options he has, and the more this offense looks like a 50-cal rather than an artillery battery, the happier I’ll be.

  3. John_s says:

    If Hopkins can be a Roddy White / Reggie Wayne type receiver I’m all for him.

  4. rich says:

    If Patterson is there when we pick 32nd I say grab him!
    Patterson is just so explosive, dynamic, etc..if the hawks go WR in the first I would want this guy to be the pick, no matter position, so much natural talent.

  5. dave crockett says:

    You wrote this just for me, right? :)

    I’m about to rant, so let me give the two sentence synopsis first. Patterson is the classic case of a guy you DON’T draft in the first round. Ideally, we want to be Patterson’s 2nd or 3rd team. Just pay him as a free agent. His athleticism means that he should age fairly well.
    ***
    To be clear, I don’t DISLIKE Patterson. His ability to stick his foot in the ground and change direction is Beast-like, and he does it at top speed. Oh, and he runs with POWER, which is not something you say often about WRs. But Patterson is the quintessential first round seductress–the super hot chick that is really high maintenance. In your heart of hearts you KNOW it’s not going to be worth the headache but you are dazzled.

    Seriously, talk to some knowledgeable UT fans. UT lined Patterson up all over the field because they couldn’t count on him to run routes, beat coverage, or catch the ball consistently. It’s NOT because they needed more “creative” ways to involve him. He couldn’t handle the core requirements of his job. I’m sure he can learn, but that gives you an idea of the kind of learning curve we are talking about. The NFL graveyards are littered with dazzling athletes who can’t play their positions. Very few WRs–and I can’t think of ANY off the top of my head–who are as raw as Patterson ever become consistent contributors. (Don’t say Calvin Johnson. On a per play basis he was awesome at Tech. and he played for Chan Gailey before the coaching change.) Darius Heyward-Bey might be the most comparable talent and comparably raw, and he is only the worst first round WR of the 2009 draft.

    By contrast, with Hopkins you have a player who is as clearly projectable as WR prospect you’ll find. Probably not a top 10 talent, unless he blows up the combine. But he looks like somewhere between Jeremy Maclin and Roddy White. I truly hope we don’t start turning up our noses at that for guys like Patterson–not in the first round.

    • Rob Staton says:

      To be clear in the article – I did touch on how they needed to be creative to get him the ball because he was so inconsistent as a receiver. I wasn’t stating that they were doing it purely to get him more touches.

      • GH says:

        guys like that scare me for first round picks. Whenever you’re doing something special to get the ball to a guy the NFL defenses recognize it pretty quickly. It’s a hard way to earn first round value out of a player.

        To me, I see Hopkins as they guy who is already a wide receiver who just needs to polish and grow. Patterson needs to develop skills he does not yet have. That’s not a first rounder to me. I’m with Dave Crockett. Lots of dudes flash the mad skills but never become quality wide receivers. Meanwhile the list of very good/great wide receivers with ‘only average’ athleticism is quite decorated.

        But I still think they find their guy later on. Wheaton in round 2, perhaps?

    • Rock says:

      Two years of over 1000 yards receiving. 93 catches for 1496 yards. 4.42 at the combine. Those were the numbers of Golden Tate. He was much more ready for the NFL than these guys and we got him in the second round.

      • Michael says:

        Golden Tate couldn’t run a good route to save his life. By his own admission he relied almost completely on his superior athleticism to make plays, thus never putting in the effort to develop as a route runner.

        I think to some degree, the league knew what the learning curve would be with Tate and that was priced into his draft stock. Not to mention the fact that he is a good 3″ shorter than even Hopkins and you’ve got yourself a second round pick. Neither Hopkins (more polished) or Patterson (better HWS) are likely to be available at #60 overall where we got Golden.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I would argue Tate was still very raw coming into the pro’s. Production was great, but he had so much to learn – which is ultimately why he nearly fell into round three despite getting a lot of R1 talk. His route running was poor, he played the game like a converted RB (which he was). Pure body catcher. The speed, competitive nature and ability to compete in the air despite his size clearly interested Seattle. But the thought process was he was a project who needed time coming into the league. And in fairness, that’s how it’s played out.

    • Nate Dogg says:

      Couldn’t you have said the same things about Irvin last year? As to comparably raw receivers, how about Torri Smith and Demaryius Thomas?

      • dave crockett says:

        Interesting calls Nate, but I call those two WRs more inexperienced than raw. I see “raw” as a reference to undeveloped skills. Rob’s description of Tate is a good example of raw. He didn’t have an NFL skill set. He’s always had good hands but was a body catcher. He ran poor routes, etc. (And even *he* was less raw than Patterson, imo.)

        I’d say Irvin’s situation isn’t directly comparable to any WR’s. You can limit what is expected of a raw but uber-athletic DE/OLB type like Irvin (who doesn’t use his hands well or have a consistent countermove). You can’t do that at WR. If he’s on the field he has to run the right routes and catch the ball.

        I never saw Smith play college ball so I can’t speak about him. I did see Thomas play and he displayed good skills at Tech. He was more inexperienced than raw when he came out. I was nervous about his learning curve, but there is precedent for WRs coming from option offenses and excelling. (Remember former Seahawk Mike Pritchard, former TE Keith Jackson? You have to go back a ways.)

        Patterson on the other hand plays in the closest thing to a pure pro offense you typically see in college. His skill set isn’t being hidden by his offense. It’s very undeveloped.

  6. Nolan says:

    If we can all agree that most WR need time to develope in the NFL and that there will only be a few available.plays for a rookie reciever on this team if everyone one remains healthy then I think Patterson would or should be the pick. Since he possesis the skill top take the top off the defense with his speed, he offers something our other recievers don’t also a skill that would only.be called upon. a few times a game any way.meanwhile you would have other ways he could contribute in special teams, and in the backfield. He would be a huge threat in a run/throw situation. He would open up a number of.new possibilities. for the offense and have clear areas were he can get ob the field and make plays. Hopkins could be really.good to but will need time to developed and he doesn’t offer the speed that the hawks lack or the. the other ways of getting on the field that Patterson offers.

  7. cliff says:

    To me this is pretty simple. The Seahawks’ coaching staff takes pride in getting the most from each of their players. They look at the positives each player has, not the negatives. They believe they can bring out those positives while limiting the negatives.

    Patterson’s positives and explosive plays to me out weigh Hopkins. Adding that X factor, a guy that can score on any play would change this offense.

    How much better is Hopkins than a guy we could get in the 2nd? Compare that to Patterson and its not even close especially when you add Patterson’s size advantage and physicality to the picture.

  8. Wes says:

    Hopkins for me, and its not too close. I’ll take the steady, hard worker who has already demonstrated that he has all the skills. He seems like the reliable WR who can always get open that be the perfect safety valve for Wilson. Patterson seems like a good player, but I’ll take the consistency of Hopkins

  9. Michael says:

    is it safe to summarize it by simply saying that Patterson has the higher ceiling, while Hopkins has the higher floor?

    Bruce Irvin was certainly a ceiling pick, but Bobby Wagner was more of a floor pick and I don’t think this front office necessarily goes one way or the other as a rule. I could honestly see them going either way with this, and I am hoping that Brandon Coleman just comes out and takes both guys out of the equation and we trade up to get him!

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Thats a good comparison in the sense that Hopkins will be able to play every down the first year, and Patterson will only be played once in awhile until he is coached up. Is it worth it to make a first round choice on a part time player? Maybe if he returns punts and kickoffs.

      I get worried about picking raw recruits with potential in the first round. Shouldn’t they have already shown us that potential by now? If not then they aren’t worthy of a first round pick because the risk is too high.

      • That’s one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is that Patterson wouldn’t escape the top 5 picks if he didn’t carry that risk.

        I think it boils down to the coaching staff. How confident are they in their ability to put a player in position for success?

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          After watching the video I have to say that Patterson is skilled at punt returns, and running the ball, and catching the ball against his chest. Those are the skills of a running back, and they typically get drafted in later rounds. One of our biggest concerns is finding a speedy deep threat with good hands. Patterson consistently dropped the long ball. I’m also not sure how well he will do catching the ball above his head, especially when he has to fight for the ball. Anyway I see him as one of those receivers who will get open and then break your heart when they drop the long TD pass.

          My take is that if he want a deep threat that can run the ball, we should get Tavon Austin. He is speedy and has good hands. His problem is size – kind of like Russell Wilson.

          For all around receiver I would still favor Hopkins. He is ready to play, and I don’t think it will take him more than half a season to integrate with the team.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I still firmly believe Brandon Coleman would be the receiver of choice for this team if he declares. He has 11 days to make a decision.

            • SunPathPaul says:

              I agree Coleman would be worth a risk and trade up 2 get! I still am curious about what long term would come about if we took Tavon Austin and used him in some pistol sets to mix up the opponents D… We could use him (faster than RG3) to make the option read/pistol a real threat. Not to mention he can get loose deep with a 4.39… If PC/JS see that potential, who knows, maybe he is round ones surprise!

      • Phil says:

        I think the Seahawks have reached the point where they can “splurge” a little with their first round pick. For the past few years, the team had obvious needs to fill and just about anyone they picked was an improvement over what they already had. It’s not that way anymore. It’s going to be progressively harder to find guys who can compete with our current starters and who can win a starting position. To me, Patterson is a high-risk, but potentially high-reward kind of player who may turn out to be a real gem. If he’s there when we pick, I say go for it.

  10. stuart says:

    Rob, what are the differences to you between TE Ertz and TE Eifert (Notre Dame)? For me I still would rather have Ertz in R-1 vs Hopkins or Patterson. Of all the players you select in the draft, your R-1 pick needs to be the closest to a sure thing…that player has had to demonstrate excellent skills in college.

    Since Hopkins and Patterson are only juniors, ask yourself if they stayed for their senior season what do you think they would be this time next season? Of the two I could see Patterson improving the most, he also has the most the most room to improve…

    • Rob Staton says:

      Ertz is a better all round tight end. More of a blocker, plays in a scheme that demands the TE’s to block. He’s a more fluid pass-catcher – just naturally very good running routes and making the play. Eifert is a pure receiver… they’ve really had to shoe horn some blocking duties into his game.

      • MJ says:

        I have actually been quite confused with the Eifert love affair in the Draft community (not you). He’s utterly worthless as a blocker. Basically Evan Moore clone…for better or worse. He passes the look test, but I’m afraid he’s a typical ND TE who looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

  11. Michael says:

    speaking of older FA receivers, is Greg Jennings’ injury riddled (and ineffective) season gonna bring his price tag down to a reasonable number? I wouldn’t mind adding more “experienced” depth if it could be had at a decent price.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It probably will, but Jennings worries me. It seems to me like he took his eye off the ball in the off-season… too many commercials and not enough focus in a contract year. He looks like he’s lost ‘it’. So I’d be worried investing in him. The old Jennings was elite though.

      • Michael says:

        Well like we always say, Pete Carroll is always gonna think he can get the best out of his players. If he is cheap enough I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they brought him in. Even if he has lost “it”, there is no way he is more washed up than TO.

        • Rob Staton says:

          The difference is though, T.O. was on the minimum salary. Jennings will probably command a substantial commitment. It all looks a bit T.J. Houshmanzadeh-like to me.

  12. Seattle already has a good starting trio at WR. The only problem with it (besides health) is that it’s a group that sometimes struggles to get open. Rice is good at getting open- when he’s fully healthy and isn’t being double teamed. Tate is a difference maker but separation on routes is still something he needs to work on. Baldwin is Seattle’s version of Brandon Lloyd- he makes great catches but then again he has to because he almost never finds a way to slip 10 feet behind a corner.

    So to me, Seattle’s need at WR isn’t for an X-factor type, it’s for a Mr. Reliable type, a guy that you can bank on to get open on a regular basis, especially on plays where Wilson is improvising to buy time. A guy like Djack, Engram, or Jurevicius back in the day.

    Maybe Seattle addresses that need in free agency. Wes Welker and Greg Jennings are among the best in the business at getting open and drawing targets. But if Seattle does address WR in the draft, there is no question in my mind that DeAndre Hopkins should top their wish list. He may not have elite size or speed but he’s got everything else you want from a WR.

    And really, the idea that Hopkins can’t be elite because of his size/speed is untrue. Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest WR in NFL history, was similar to Hopkins in terms of size, speed, polish, work ethic and intangibles. Hopkins probably won’t be the next Jerry Rice, but like Rice, his upside will not be limited by how big or fast he is.

    • Nolan says:

      who’s snaps would Hopkins take though?

    • Alex says:

      lol, funny thing. I also thought of Jerry Rice’s physical attributes when people talk about Hopkin’s above average size/speed. Not saying Hopkins will be Rice, but physically, they’re close to each other. They both 6’1, 6’2 and around 200 lbs. Rice was not the physical monster a Michael Irvin in his day or Andre Johnson/Calvin Johnson is today, but Rice was known for perfect route running, great hands, great endurance/stamina late in games, reliability, consistency, and toughness. A large part of the latter characteristics came from his intense training regime.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I’m of a similar mind.

      Although if our WR corps did have such issues with getting open, then I think we’d see symptoms of that. The biggest alpha indicator would be completion percentage. Secondary to that attempts to drop backs (which would account for scrambles on designed passes and sacks).

      The indications are however, that we have an outstanding completion percentage and the attempts to drop back ratio is pretty middle of the pack. Of which certainly Wilson’s inexperience (and to an unknown extent his stature) plays a role. Regardless, it’s not exactly a liability.

      I’m left to wonder aloud if the notion that our WRs “can’t get open” is more urban legend and a holdover from last year where many people used a difficult to prove/disprove excuse for TJack’s unworldly poor production.

      It just seems that if our WRs were as bad as they are painted to be, then we should see tangible evidence by way of poor productivity. But we instead have pretty elite productivity (certainly top 8 in terms of ability to complete passes and YPA, which indicates we don’t pad completions with easy dump offs and check downs). We don’t have home run hitters. But we have one of the best TD/Catch ratios in the entire NFL. I’m not trying to paint our WRs as the greatest ever but our productivity within the confines of what we want out of our passing game has been top shelf.

      If we are going WR, then it’s Hopkins without any reservation or doubt. If despite our productivity, we truly don’t have WRs that can get open, then what’s the value of removing one of those and replacing him with someone less reliable.

      Tenacity is a much more coveted quality than explosiveness for us. We aren’t a pass first, pass second and run third offense. In nearly every drive, there is the near certainty that the entire possession will be extended or turned over based on one pass attempt. A bad route, body catch or an otherwise ‘inability to go get the ball and make the QB look good’, should simply be interpreted as a turnover. We don’t throw with enough frequency to absorb unforced incompletions. That is not likely to change at the offensive identity level.

      Hopkins moves chains, and attacks the ball like it’s the most important object on the planet. Patterson turns possession over and attacks the ball like it’s a fragile sack full of dog poo. And once every month or so he’ll make a touchdown that might not otherwise happen. This team has enough weapons that we hurt ourselves more by denying the opportunity for Rice/Tate/Lynch/Hopkins to score from the red zone because we want to sacrifice possessions for the opportunity to make dynamic TDs by Patterson.

      This is not an offense that is broken and needs the big strike. This is a methodical, sure 8 minute drive type of offense. Patterson is a square block and trying stubbornly to mash him in the round hole that is our offensive identity, makeup and philosophy – strikes me as maybe reading way too much into Pete’s offhand “Touchdown maker” quip at the end of year presser for 2011.

      Patterson simply put stinks at this point. He’s not even a good/difference making college receiver. Despite having an NFL caliber QB prospect and the attrition of competing WR talent on his own team. Taking him is a raiders pick and that’s really being kind. He has an extremely low skill set and has not shown the ability to make much improvement. He doesn’t look any better at the end of 2012 as he did at the beginning.

      He isn’t a first round pick quality player. If the odds were 60/40 that he would never be a starter in this league, I’d take that bet. I certainly am on board with Kip’s assertion that Hopkins is a first round quality receiver and his game should continue to flourish at the NFL level. I’m not necessarily convinced that this WR corps is so lacking in production that we need to get a first round quality WR. It really seems like it’s young and empirically productive. Certainly it’s not terribly deep now but with Obomanu it’s effectively 4 deep. A garden variety WR UFA could provide insurance with a 2nd/3rd day dev prospect would certainly be pretty typical of an NFL teams WR unit.

      Hopkins would be a good pick. I think though that I’d advocate avoiding the position in the first entirely unless Coleman drops to a point where the team can get him, or painlessly trade up some spots to secure him. We have infused productive talent in our unity in 2010 and 2011. Those investments are maturing and getting tangibly better. We’re at the point where we can be extremely selective in spending day 1 draft stock in that unit now and should be so for at least the next couple years.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Attyla,
        I pretty much agree with you that Hopkins or Coleman would be good picks. It’s not that I think Patterson is bad but he is more of a running back than a receiver. He just doesn’t have the hands for it (though he might improve with training). I mention hands because if you watch our last game, RW threw one really good long ball to Miller that was called back. He threw two long balls that had a lot of air under them, and ended up being jump balls between receiver and corner. Fortunately our receivers are fighting for the ball and making catches.

        The point being that we need to pick people with good hands in the first. Also that the separation issue isn’t always due to the receiver, sometimes it is the pass location. I am convinced we need to kepe building our wide receiver group and a first round pick would be most effective because we would have our choice of receivers.

      • Brandon says:

        “It just seems that if our WRs were as bad as they are painted to be, then we should see tangible evidence by way of poor productivity.”

        If we had a normal QB, I’d agree. But we have Russell Wilson leaping over, ducking under, spinning and weaving his way through ten tackles and then chucking bombs to a receiver who’s had fifteen seconds to shed his man and get open. My grandmother could play wide receiver on this offense – except that it’s a pretty big strain on Wilson and I’d rather that strain be removed.

  13. Henrique says:

    Rob, isn’t Hopkins the same size as Crabtree?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Crabtree is 6-1/6-2 and about 215lbs. So he’s marginally taller and about 15lbs bigger.

      • Alex says:

        thing is, when I watch the tape, I always feel Crabtree is smaller than he actually is on TV. When I see him play, I think 5’11, 6’0, 200 lbs. That’s way different than say a Andre Johnson or Calvin Johnson who plays every bit like their size and weight suggests. Michael Irvin is the perfect epitome of playing every bit of his size and weight.

  14. Christon says:

    Wow, that’s a tough one. It’s so close that I think I would take better personality. Patterson if I felt confident he had the competitiveness, work ethic, and humility that could fix things and turn himself into a star WR (and not into a Diva). But if I were Pete or John, during the interview process – if I started to question Patterson’s make-up or liked Hopkins make-up more I would take Hopkins in a Heartbeat over Patterson because, fit for the locker room, competitiveness, chemistry, work ethic, desire, etc. all matter.

    This was the Year that we were supposed to draft a franchise QB in the first round so for me, it like we are playing with house money. Patterson could be a top 5 WR/Playmaker in this league – if he has the right make-up – but that’s not to say that Hopkins couldn’t become a Greg Jennings or Roddy White type player either. It’s so close. In the end, I think Hopkins is the player I would end up taking because he had reportedly set goals and worked hard to achieve them and seems like he had more of a desire to be great. Close call though.

  15. Cysco says:

    I don’t really know enough about Patterson’s personality and work ethic to make an educated call here.

    The team was willing to draft a pure athleticism and potential guy in the first last year because they believed in Irvin’s character and that he’d bust his behind to improve and learn the game. He was an athletic freak who was coachable.

    If Patterson has the work ethic and desire to get better, (a Julio Jones type) then he would be my choice. If he is a primadonna who doesn’t want to put in the work, (a dez bryant type) then I’d rather let him be someone else’s headache.

    I think the team can afford a project at WR so it comes down to Patterson’s ability and chances of improving. Patterson has the size and athleticism to be a top-5 WR in the game. If he has the willingness to put in the work, I don’t see how you could pass up on that opportunity.

    If Patterson doesn’t blow away the team during interviews and work outs, then I’d have no problem going with Hopkins.

  16. JamesP says:

    We’re talking about helping out a young QB here and giving him the very best chance of becoming the face of the franchise for the next decade. Given that, I think we have to ask who Wilson would rather add to the WR corp?

    A 6-3 X-factor who is just as likely to drop a long pass as juke past 4 defenders for a TD, is raw, inexperienced and possibly immature? Or a safety net. Someone who will work hard at his craft, make clutch catches, work back to the QB if the play breaks down, find soft zones in coverage and ultimately be where Wilson expects him to be, when he expects him to be there.

    If we were deeper at WR my answer might be different, but Martin and Kearse are surely very weak for NFL 4th and 5th string receivers, and if Rice or Tate gets injured, we are incredibly thin.

    I think Wilson would pick Hopkins, so that’s what I would do too. Until we are deeper at receiver, and Wilson has another year or 2 experience, we don’t need a risk/reward prospect like Patterson in the 1st round.

    • GH says:

      are martin and Kearse really that weak for 4th and 5th wide receivers? How do they compare to other rosters in this regard? And, how hard is it to fix that problem is it necessary to use a first round pick to do that ?

      Myself, I’m quite content with the starting WRs. They are among the more productive group in the NFL, actually. Need I remind anyone here that Russell Wilson set the rookie passing touchdown record, and did so in an offense that was ridiculously run centered in the first third of the season?

      And that’s with Baldwin being hurt, and none of them having more than 1 season with Russell Wilson. Rice has had injury issues in the past but was quite healthy this year, and he’s also in the thick of his prime years. Tate didn’t miss any games last year and only 1 game this year. He misses some his rookie year but not all due to injury, so he’s been pretty healthy. He’s also young and emerging into his prime. And Baldwin played in 15 games last year and 14 this year.

      Considering that we have two offensive lineman who have missed half the games in their careers yet folks are ready to dismiss that as “he might be healthy next year, just like Okung was”, I find the fretting over the WR health issues a bit misplaced.

      Given that just a few days ago this blog was making the case that 3 tech DT and interior pass rush is the highest priority, I’m a bit bewildered that we’re talking about adding depth to a wr corps that was actually quite productive this year, and potentially using a first round pick on a project to do so. Especially when there are numerous nice looking wide receivers likely to be available in the mid rounds- wr’s who fit a lot of what Carroll has been looking for in the free agent pile the past few years, btw.

      Color me extremely skeptical of the need to use a first round pick on a WR.

      • JamesP says:

        I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say – but this whole article sets up a hypothetical CP vs DH debate. I was answering the specific question. If the question was “who should we draft in Rd 1?” – then maybe my answer wouldn’t be either Patterson or Hopkins.

        • GH says:

          yeah, I get that. I realized after I posted that I meant to qualify my post with that parameter but forgot.
          I also probably should have not posted responding right to your post for such a general question :)
          In all, I’m completely content with them going for BPA with some consideration for need in mind, but I suspect BPA and need will fit a lot better than either of these two.

          • JamesP says:

            I agree GH. I hope we take BPA principally, but need will clearly factor in to some extent. If I was “fantasy drafting” I would take a DT, as I think a 3-Tech is our number 1 need. Given a choice of a DT and a WR, both rated the same, I wouldn’t even consider going WR. The problem is that probably won’t be the choice, and it might come down to 5th best DT vs 2nd best WR, and then I’d be hard pushed to take the DT. I’m ignoring all other positions for the sake of this hypothetical, but the same would apply.

      • Rob Staton says:

        First of all GH – it’s January. If you want to spend every day until April 25th talking about three-techniques, it’ll be a bit boring. We have to look at multiple needs and receiver is still a need. The depth in the interior offensive line is far superior to the depth at receiver – as shown when Carpenter has missed time and we’ve been fine. We have a third round pick on the OL who hasn’t even been active the last couple of weeks. If one of Baldwin, Rice or Tate misses time, the offense takes a major hit. You can also run 3/4 WR sets for most calls, so having four guys you really like is hardly overkill.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Nicely put and hard to disagree with this.

    • Barry says:

      Yes, yes, yes

  17. Paul Levy says:

    I agree with JamesP. Who would Russell choose? I think the idea of linking RW’s work ethic with a new rookie WR that has that similar makeup, would be ideal! “Separation is in the Preparation!” HAH

    Also, just as a side idea, New Orleans has only 5 draft picks this year. We have their 7th, and the NFL striped their 2nd! They need Players, and they have last years 4th round WR pick Nick Toon, son of former Jet/Badger Al Toon. He was injured and put on IR for the year. He played with Russell Wilson his senior year and completed 64 passes for 926 yards and 10 TD’s! They have chemistry all ready. He is 6’3″, 215, with a sub 4.5 speed. What if we traded a late pick for this guy. AND THE QUESTION IS- Would Russell Wilson want him? Does he know him enough to know that he would be a good fit?? If Wilson says they have real good chemistry, then help out NO and snag him up! Then our WR choice could be even more flexible… What you guys think?

    • Phil says:

      Interesting idea!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Would they trade a late round pick for Nick Toon?

      • Paul Levy says:

        Since he hasn’t played, and they badly need Defensive players, and have a loaded WR corp to boot, I think they might! Still my whole desire for this would bank on what Wilson thinks…! If he felt it would be a great idea, then maybe even give them our 4th for him, if he is checked out to be healthy, fast, etc…
        We have 2 extra picks at high slots in the 5th and 6th it appears, so a 4th for last years 4th- if Russell wants him- seems totally worth it! Who knows if they would, or even can have this idea??

        • Paul Levy says:

          …another possibility is after the draft we trade a defensive player we no longer need for Toon…
          Just an idea that seems possible…

          Russell’s Dad and Nick’s dad were WRs… so maybe they have a bond that would make this thread and thought worth it…

          • Barry says:

            Conceptually this is a interesting idea. But IDK if our FO would give up a 4th for a unproven player who was on IR. I can see it getting life if they asked Wilson and he gave a great endorsement. What was his injury does anyone have that info?

  18. Phil says:

    Sorry this is off point, but USA Today in its “Deals” column says that Tampa Bay has signed “TE Zach Miller”. I’m traveling so I might have missed something …

  19. MJ says:

    Great read per usual Rob.

    The thing is, like every fan base, we tend to overvalue our own players (ie Flynn) and that really skews the reality of our roster. Yes, we have a fine, young roster, but we are literally an injury at WR away from going from an average corps to a really poor one.

    Here’s my thoughts on the current WR corps:

    Rice: When healthy, he’s a great #2 WR, who is in a #1 WRs body. Health is a REAL concern going forward as he’s always a hit away from IR. He is far and away the best WR on the roster, but I don’t think he’s quite the talent he’s made out to be.

    Tate: An exciting guy when the ball is in his hands. The problem is (always will be IMO) is getting open. I don’t think he’s a #2, but rather a really good #3 who is more of a gadget guy. He has some really nice ability, but in no way do I see “CAR Steve Smith.” Smith is a legit high 4.3s player on the field and despite being short, is a longer guy (long arms). I don’t see Tate having the same explosive ability. Tate is a slot guy IMO.

    Baldwin: Mr. Reliable who should always stay in the slot. Probably the best WR when it comes to getting open. Doug is a guy you want on your roster for the next decade, but should exclusively be a 3rd or 4th option. 3rd down is where he makes his money.

    Martin, Kearse, etc: IMO, these are guys that should hardly ever see the field. Strictly special teamers who seem like great team guys, but shouldn’t be seeing snaps on the field on offense.

    That was a brief write up, but I think this highlights that WR is really a rather average position on this team. As great as it would be to get a legit #1 WR, they are hard to find. With that said, a young QB like RW deserves weapons to make his life easy. Yes, we are still a running team, but WRs can and will be shuffled throughout the game. A R1 WR will have no problem getting plenty of snaps to justify that draft pick (reference Bruce Irvin as well).

    Rob’s article poses a really interesting question. Part of me loves the idea of shooting for the moon with Patterson. He has rare, rare ability but is the epitome of a gamble. The beauty part about Patterson on this roster, is that we play to his strengths early, while developing the rest of his game. He won’t be asked to be the guy day 1, let alone year 1.

    The other part is loving Hopkins. Everything about him screams NFL success, even if he’s not the guy you yearn to have on your fantasy team. Reliability/consistency might be the most underrated trait of a professional athlete. As a former baseball guy, I can tell you first hand that this trait is what separates the all-stars from the “what could have beens.”

    All this said, I trust this FO to make the right decision. A part of me will be inevitably disappointed as both guys bring something very valuable to the table. I’m leaning towards Hopkins because I think a QB like RW would much rather have a guy that he has a rapport with and knows he can go to in crunch time. Great stuff Rob, sorry for the novel!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Great thoughts there, MJ. Some very valid points raised.

      • Barry says:

        A player Hopkins reminds me of more and more is Reggie Wayne. For the last 10 years there are few players on the offensive side of the ball I’d take over Wayne, especially on this team both are a match.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          The one thing all three of our top receivers have in common is good hands. I would like to continue that trend in our draft picks.

  20. Paul Levy says:

    In addition to the needed weapon of a WR – Hopkins, Coleman, Patterson…
    What about the TE catching position? By the end of RD 2 both Ertz and Eifert will be gone…

    Rob, you have mentioned Gavin Escobar @ 6′-5″ I believe, what about 6′-7″ Joseph Fauria out of UCLA, or Jordan Reed from FL ST. If we can match a mid round TE catcher (& blocker) with a nice WR, Russell Wilson’s Off season will be “FULLY LOADED”!

    Ideas?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I like Reed over Fauria personally – although I’m tempted to say TE has become less of a target area as the season has gone on. Miller has become more of a feature in the passing game and Anthony McCoy – who I’ve always liked – has taken major strides forward. I really like McCoy.

  21. Darnell says:

    I also think it may be fair to say, that as long as he is healthy and capable, Ben Obomanu is a safe bet for that 6th WR spot. 3 seasons of the PC/JS and they always roll with Obo in that spot because of his special teams prowess – and I like that. Ideally the #6 slot doesn’t see the field as a WR but is a demon on special teams. If Obo is good to go I give him the roster spot over Kearse,Martin etc every time. Farwell, Maragos, Maxwell, Obo – this team uses the last spot at position groups on bigtime special teamers.

    If I’m guessing for next year:

    Rice,Tate,Baldwin, early draft pick with #1/#2 potential, mid round pick quickish slot guy, Obo

    • Paul Levy says:

      I hope so! Imagine if that #1/2 guy is Hopkins, Patterson, Coleman(WOW), or Hunter/Allen…
      The mid round guy is a Competent WR ( or Nick Toon in a trade to NO), and we get a TE in the 2nd or 3rd!! BOOM ! Let’s make the offense vital and average 30 points a game with a D that allows the least!!! DEADLY

  22. stuart says:

    WOW, this site is loaded with great minds! Thank you all for your interesting takes…

  23. Barry says:

    Hey Rob, I think it was Dave Crockett that was talking about you don’t take a non- pure wide receiver in the first. That’s something I alluded to in a few earlier posts because you just see teams pick those raw guys up in later rounds 2-3. If you look back 10-17 years the mid rounds are loaded with these players who have worked out one way or another, guys like Hester, or even “third down backs” like Darren Sproles.

    This is why I think the Hawks will try in all earnest to fill our biggest need, the 3 tech’. If that fails I can see us going BPA or WR/TE. It looked like the D didn’t really miss much when Smith was in the line up at LB so unless there is a stud there I can see that in a later round especially with all the hot names on D being pushed in the early spots a lot a solid talent is over looked for the side of the ball is the hot one in a draft this one being on the D side. The top players go then teams jump on the few prospects on the offensive side(this year) because teams foolishly over-value filling a hole over taking the better talent. Hence causing the less known or hyped or whatever reason player to be overlooked or “drop”.

    Its a good move for the Chiefs to get Reid. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him grab a QB who the league knows he can get a few wins out of, this would give him more felxiblity in the draft. I he wanted take the best player, or dangle the pick out there with the thought of there being a QB Reid might feel can get the job done in later rounds. Or wait till next year. In the AFC west with just decent play from his qb that team is a 9 win team at least.

    • Barry says:

      Also back to my point of teams taking players in “waves” in each round. It truly was a OMG sort of thing proving to me that JS and PC really are a head of everyone in the draft when they took Irvin at #15 in the draft. I was in shock and wanted the player, but I wanted him around round 2-3 where he was being projected so much. But at mid-way point in the 2012 first round draft the Hawks owned the draft. We just didn’t know how much till now.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Reid will know if he gets a QB that can point guard that team they can win a lot of the games. KC was a really underrated team to coach among those with a vacancy. They have a good roster, the #1 pick. I suspect Reid will go for Barkley or Smith. And that for me is what they have to do. The QB group for 2014 is extremely thin as things stand. I can only note Teddy Bridgewater as a possible R1 pick at this stage. Usually you have 2-3 guys to monitor. This is the first year in a long time that a QB hasn’t emerged from nowhere and he’ll be aware that this could happen again. Just solve this issue now, Andy. I think he will. And I think the Chiefs will be a contender in the AFC West next year.

      As for Seattle, I think the 3-tech situation will be one they can and probably will try to solve in the middle rounds. It’s been a breeding ground for three-techs (Dockett, Atkins). They took a chance that hasn’t really worked on Jaye Howard. I think they’ll go that route again possibly alongside the addition of Randy Starks or another DT in free agency. Of course, it’d be a little different if they could get a shot at Sheldon Richardson. But I think he’ll be a top ten pick. There’s just not another purely ideal three-technique in this class that gets close to Richardson that makes me think this team will go that direction in R1. Despite it being the teams biggest need.

      • Darnell says:

        I don’t know Rob. The more I look into Sylvester Williams and Sharrif Floyd the more I see legit first rounders, with Floyd having bigtime untapped upside.

        Will Sutton plays like a first rounder, but that lack of weight probably limits him to passing downs.

        Cassius Marsh is intriguing if he were to declare and weigh in at at least 290.

        The Hawks FO will obviously know more, but I just have a hard time seeing the 3-tech value outside of the first round whereas the WR value is definately there (Woods,Wheaton,Rogers,Hamilton)

        • Rob Staton says:

          Personally, I don’t see Floyd as a three-technique. He plays an awful lot of downs for Florida at end and seems to be more effective there. I’m projecting him as an orthodox five technique at this stage. I really like Williams but I have my doubts that the Seahawks will draft him. He’s older (it didn’t put them off Irvin, but PC had history there), he’s bigger than most three-techniques and might be a better fit at the one. Both players could go in round one, I just don’t think they go to Seattle. And if they don’t take Williams in the late first, I really don’t know how they can go DT in round one unless there’s a dramatic fall for a player like Richardson.

          • Darnell says:

            Fair enough. I can see that if Williams isn’t their guy without Star and Richardson available it would be time for the next plan.

            Maybe rolling the dice on Short and his motor (or lack thereof)in the late 2nd. But I just can’t see the drop being that far for Short.

            They could end up in no mans land with the 3-techs which would be tough to swallow.

      • Barry says:

        I got ya there, but Dockett(was before we knew Sue, just stuck on the irreverent Cards early on, and with out college Sue’s work ethic) was a projected first rounder since his soft year and fell, Atkins fell as well. Both for decent reasons.

        I’d like to ask you Rob if you have a list of first round talented DTs that could fall for one reason or another this year, down year, injury so on?

  24. Norm M says:

    When I watch the tape of Hawkins and read the reports of his work ethic, study habits, and drive I can not help but think of past success’s when receivers like this were paired up with QB’s of work ethic. I can envision Wilson and Hawkins having a similar relationship as combos such as Reggie Wayne and Manning, Kurt Warner and Torry Holt, Montana/Young and Rice ( I know, I know but as an example) . What they would have in common is a Quarterback who not only has talent but a work ethic combined with a receiver who may lack “prototypical size” but has an equal work ethic and drive for perfection. Patterson reminds me a one of the many wide receivers that have immense talent but lack the attention to detail to become elite. Athletic ability alone will only get you so far in the NFL, as it has been pointed out already.

    Give RW a guy he can work and grow with and we may have a combo that we can enjoy watching for the next ten years.

  25. Casey says:

    How is Hopkins at blocking? Patterson? I imagine this may be a large part of the job description of Seahawks’ WR.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Patterson doesn’t block from what I’ve seen, but Tennessee threw an awful lot in 2012. Hopkins seems to block pretty well given his size. He’s assigned blocks on certain runs to the outside. I’ve not seen him hunt for second level guys like Markus Wheaton though.

  26. Barry says:

    This is a bit late as another post has been made. But I want to go back a bit and say that I dont think Patterson is a late first round pick. And wow if they have cloned Eric Dickerson and played him at WR we would call him Corderelle Patterson. The guy sees cut lanes better then most RBs. But back to my thought that he should be a late round pick or honestly if a winning team had the picks to trade up to take him I’d have no problem with that. The difference between a winning team and a losing team is big due to one not needing him(on the field or lead them to wins) and a losing team needing him. With his antics (and I have no problem with what he did but its a against the NCAA rules) he really cost his team a lot of momentum and a lesser team crushed Tenn. because of it.

    If we where able to sign one of the 3techs in FA and then take Hopkins in one and trade up in early two and take Patterson that would be a successful start for the off-season to me. But that all is very unlikely and hypothetical. Even finding another Doug B is possible so if the Hawks did pull the trigger past the 22’s of rnd one I’d be ok as long as we cover.

  27. Todd W says:

    I’ve heard mentioned that it’s unlikely we’ll be able to lock up Sherman, Browner, Thomas, Chancellor after next year. Seeing how we played to well without Browner and how his stock should be peaking, do you see any chance he gets traded for a draft pick or to move up? If he’s going to be the odd man out, might as well get a young stud we can keep for 4 plus years.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Possibly, but I think the teams ability so far to find starting DB’s from relative obscurity will perhaps move them to avoid going CB early. It depends who is there. Dee Milliner would be good.