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January 23, 2013

THE BREAKDOWN: Quinton Patton's Draft Stock Soaring

BleedTechBlue.com will take a look into the senior prospects and underclassmen who will take the next step towards the NFL. This week we will take a look at senior wide receiver Quinton Patton, the NFL projections, and his thoughts on the future.

Overview:

After coming to Ruston, LA from a junior college in Kansas following his sophomore year, senior WR Quinton Patton is a household name around town. This past year saw the Bulldogs reach national prominence and almost become a BCS buster. Many of those feats accomplished undoubtedly were due to the great efforts by Patton and his plethora of play making moves. Patton was a candidate for the Bilentikoff award and was the star of the offense on most occasions. Without a doubt he will be remembered as one of the best to ever do it for the Bulldogs, but his transition to the NFL level is to be determined.

Patton is leaving LA Tech after hauling in 1,392 receiving yards and 13 scores his senior year. This should not surprise anyone considering the year prior, his first year on campus, he tallied 1,202 yards and 11 scores. Patton's production at Louisiana Tech is on the heels of his first team all-conference career at Coffeyville Community College. Patton was arguably the best weapon in Sonny Dykes' offense (see Texas A&M game) but his ability to be clutch in the big moments were key this year.

Strengths:

Patton has the ability to make the big catch against any competition, including six different conferences in this year alone (ACC, SEC, CUSA, BIG10, WAC and Mountain West). Against press coverage he is very aggressive and has the ability to stay on route. While he does not possess top-end speed, he does show great quickness upon release. He almost always catches the ball away from his body and has a great understanding of his assignments in route combinations. He also has good vision in the open field and is always a threat to make a big play. Patton runs crisp routes which combined with his great awareness, makes up for his most glaring weaknesses. Standing 6-2, Patton, has a very athletic build and is not afraid to mix it up with the opposing defense's best cover corner.

Weaknesses:

Patton does not separate well from defenders on deep balls. He does not appear to possess elite top-end speed. This past season he has dropped some routine catchable balls that he will be counted on to make at the next level. He goes down rather easy after first contact. Must show the ability to denounce the stigma of being a system player (spread offense).

Where does he fit?:

Patton has the tools to play and contribute at the next level, but the question is where he will fit. His worth to the NFL is yet to be determined but his great understanding of the position will help him make his presence felt. Working out of a slot position will often match him with a nickel-back/ safety, and this is a match-up he is expected to win. Teams looking for a number 2 WR or an 3rd option to develop will allow Patton to blossom while learning the logistics of the NFL.

Until April he must prove himself:

Heading into April's NFL draft, Patton must convince scouts that his production is only a byproduct of his ability, and not the weakness of competition (non-BCS). He must set out to show his worth at Louisiana Tech's pro day, combine invitations and any future all-star games. Lowering his forty yard dash time will the most critical component to improving his draft stock. There is no doubting his talent or production but as the old saying goes, "Speed Kills", and the NFL is not shy about their thirst for it (see Yamon Figures). Overall a strong pro-day performance will certainly solidify his current hype, but improving numbers will be a must for the Tennessee native going forward.

Catching Up with General Patton:

BTB: Coming into the Season did you ever think the team would endure the success it had this year?

Patton: "Yes! Coming into the season we felt the buzz and knew good things were going to happen for us".

BTB: Since the Season has ended what have you been doing to get ready for April NFL draft?

Patton: "Working out in a Houston, TX at Houston CES training facility"

BTB: What the one thing that your think you need to work on the most as a WR heading into the NFL?

Patton: "My route running period and really focusing on it. Getting in and out of my cuts and using my talents to my advantage."

BTB: What is your best attribute from a WR stand point?

Patton: "The best thing I have going for me is my run after the catch. I turned a lot of short passes into big gains this year for our offense. It's what I think I do the best."

BTB: What was the most memorable play from your senior year?

Patton: "The most memorable play for me came during the Texas A&M game. Our freshman running back Kenneth Dixon took a handoff from Colby Cameron. While he was running towards the end zone his helmet starting coming off. He pulled his helmet back on, took contact and scored. It was such a big play for us."

BTB: If you had a choice of who you could play for next year who would it be?

Patton: "Right now I would have to say anyone who would give me a chance. I just want to play football. All I want to do is give my all and play football"

BTB: This year you had the chance to face a SEC defense in the Texas A&M Aggies. Throughout the game you were pretty much unstoppable. How much of that success did you expect coming into such a big match-up?

Patton: "Truthfully I have never back down from anyone. So I expected to win against anyone out there. I have always been that way. I expect that every time."

BTB: Whats next for Quinton Patton?

Patton: "The sky is the limit for me right now, I'm just continuing to work hard and wait. I'm just ready for whatever God has planned for me"



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