Swiss-Army-knife Cordarrelle Patterson has joined a talented Raiders receiving group alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Patterson presents as an immediate upgrade in the return game for the Raiders, having blossomed into one of the NFL’s most dynamic return men over the past few years.
Quite possibly the NFL’s best return specialist, Patterson offers a skill set which can be useful in several contexts. In addition to returning kicks, the former first-rounder is a capable rotational wideout and has even expressed interest in playing running back. (With Latavius Murray’s potential departure, it’s possible the Raiders look into the change.)
With seven career receiving touchdowns, four career rushing touchdowns, and five kickoff returns for scores, Patterson can do it all. However, he still needs to develop more either as a receiver or running back to truly live up to the contract he’s signing. Patterson has only tallied 1,316 career receiving yards to date, which certainly isn’t what the Minnesota Vikings were hoping for when they traded back into the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft to select him.
Nonetheless, Patterson is still young, with plenty of talent and potential left to offer. He’ll be a major upgrade on special teams and can even contribute on offense as well, though the Raiders will likely be wary of putting him in a prominent pass-catching role.
Patterson’s potential in the return game alone will be huge for Oakland. If he can manage to carve out a role on offense, whether as a runner or pass-catcher, that will just be icing on the cake for an already exciting unit. As the Raiders look to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2001-02, Patterson’s presence on special teams and potentially on offense will likely be a deciding factor of whether Oakland can play football in January once again.