Though Bill Belichick didn’t draft Cordarrelle Patterson No. 29 overall in 2013, the New England Patriots head coach hasn’t been short on things to say about the receiver, part-time rusher and three-time All-Pro returner over the years since then.
Patterson, by way of North Carolina Tech Christian Academy, Hutchinson Community College and Tennessee, instead went to the Minnesota Vikings that spring. And by trading down, New England netted picks that would become linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Logan Ryan, wideout Josh Boyce and, in a subsequent deal, running back LeGarrette Blount.
But it’s come full circle five years later. The player drafted in that first-round slot once occupied by the Patriots now is one.
And with Patterson arriving from the Oakland Raiders in a swap of fifth- and sixth-rounders, as first reported by Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take on Sunday night, it’s a fitting time to circle back on Belichick’s past quotes regarding the 6-foot-2, 220-pound all-purpose threat.
Here are three, courtesy of the Patriots.com transcript archives.
‘DANGEROUS WITH THE BALL IN HIS HANDS’
In his Sept. 10, 2014 press conference, four days before the Patriots visited Minnesota, Belichick fielded a question about the challenges players like Patterson and then-Vikings teammate Adrian Peterson present.
Patterson had posted 48 kick-return yards, 26 receiving yards and 102 rushing yards with the help of a 67-yard touchdown versus the St. Louis Rams the week prior.
And the season prior, the rookie had been named a Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro after leading the league in return yards – for what’d be the first of three times thus far – in addition to logging two touchdowns in that capacity.
“Patterson is obviously an explosive guy,” Belichick told reporters. “You see that in the return game. He’s a deep threat. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, whether you hand it to him or throw it to him on a short pass. He’s a dangerous catch-and-run guy, he’s also a vertical guy … He’s a strong player, kind of like Peterson – big, strong, hard to tackle, good speed, at a different position.”
‘LIKE THE KID FROM BALTIMORE’
Who does Patterson compare to among return men faced in the past? Belichick didn’t fair-catch that inquiry when Friday, Sept. 12 rolled around; he ran it out of the end zone instead.
“He’s probably like the kid from Baltimore,” Belichick said, alluding to the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones, who broke off a 108-yard TD in Super Bowl XLVII. “He’s big, strong, aggressive, hard to tackle. He’s got good vision and he hits seams, but even there are a lot of times where guys get a shot at him and they just can’t tackle him or he runs through tackles. He’s got breakaway speed. That type of player – can hit the home run, can go the distance. Sometimes it’s there but sometimes it’s really not there and he still makes a lot out of it. That’s the mark of a real good returner, a guy that can take something that doesn’t look like its great and turn it into a big play.”
Patterson went on to return only one kick in the Patriots-Vikings game of 2014. It went for 23 yards in a 30-7 Minnesota defeat. But during his tenure in the league, he’s returned a total of 153 for 4,613 yards and five scores. He’s sprung loose for 28 over 40-plus yards, including ones of the 101-, 104- and 109-yard variety along the way.
Unlike Jones, who was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro of his own in 2012 and finished with nine total regular-season return touchdowns, Patterson has not doubled as a punt returner. He has, however, served as a punt gunner.
‘CALL HIM WHATEVER YOU WANT’
Patterson checks in with 163 catches on his resume through stops in Minnesota and Oakland. And while the 27-year-old wide receiver has yet to surpass the 469 yards and four touchdowns he did in his first season, he’s remained an offensive variable to account for so long as he’s been in the huddle.
That will tend to happen when you average more than 10 yards per rush in your career to the tune of 454 yards and six touchdowns. Those jet sweeps and the like remained in the cards in 2017 with the Raiders. And on Nov. 17, roughly 48 hours before Oakland and New England met in Mexico City, Belichick sounded well-aware of the potential for gadgetry.
“They have four – call it five – receivers,” Belichick said of the Raiders’ multiple looks out wide with Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Seth Roberts, Johnny Holton and Patterson. “They play them in different combinations. Patterson – he plays in the backfield, he plays in the receiver positions. Call him whatever you want, he’s another explosive player.”
Patterson would not get a carry against New England in what was a 33-8 loss for Oakland. But whatever the Patriots called him, he did secure four passes on four targets for 45 yards with a long of 22.