“Over/Under” is a glance at a pair of players at each position; one who TDR believes in overrated, and one who we believe is underrated.
OVER: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
When you look at Patterson, there’s plenty to like. He has a fantastic size/speed combination, is dangerous after the catch, and consistently uses his big frame to shield defenders away from throws. But when it comes to a receiver that’s being talked about in the top-1o conversation, Patterson leaves a few things to be desired.
The most glaring thing that stands out to me when I watch tape on Patterson is that he’s almost exclusively a body-catcher. Very rarely will you see him use his ideal arm length to extend out away from his body and make the catch with his hands. This increases the likelihood that a defender will be able to disrupt the pass before Patterson can secure it, and can also lead to multiple passes popping up off the pads and either being incomplete, or falling into enemy hands. When you look at recent top-10 receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones, they both excel at catching the ball away from the body and making it nearly impossible for the defender to make a play on the ball.
Patterson is also not a very refined route runner. He seems extremely stiff in his upper body, which impacts his fluidity coming in and out of his cuts. As I mentioned before, he does do a great job of using his body to keep defenders away from the ball, but perhaps relies on this too much and doesn’t treat every step of every route with the precision necessary to consistently beat good defensive backs.
Both of these are issues that will only be magnified once Patterson is lining up against NFL corners, especially since he’s being viewed as a receiver who can come in and immediately challenge to be the #1 target. For me, he’s just not at that level and I would be wary of spending a top-1o pick on him.
UNDER: Kenny Stills, Oklahoma
I’m not really sure what’s not to like with this guy. He doesn’t have the prototypical size of a #1 receiver, but for a prospect who is pegged for the middle rounds right now, Stills brings a complete repertoire to the table as a receiver.
He’s definitely not tiny (6-1, 195), and ran a 4.38 40 at the Combine. More importantly, he does well the things that I mention above that Patterson doesn’t. Stills is precise in his routes and has success all over the route tree, being successfully targeted in the screen game, the intermediate range, and also stretches the field and can take the top off the defense with consistency. He also loves to get his hands on the ball away from his body, whether it’s a jump ball in the end zone, a slant or dig over the middle in traffic, or outside the hashes.
Stills caught 24 touchdowns passes in his three years at Oklahoma, including 11 last season. Watching him snag seven passes for 125 yards and a score against Xavier Rhodes and #5 Florida State tells of his ability to perform against the top competition.
The only drawback I see with Stills is a DUI arrest his freshman year, which I’m sure was discussed at length in his Combine interviews. He has NFL bloodlines, with both his father and uncle having spent time in the league. This is a guy who could come in and make an instant impact in all facets of the passing game because he does both the big things and the little things well and consistently, and could end up being an absolute steal in the third round.