Cordarrelle Patterson joined the Oakland Raiders this offseason, and after a solid season in 2016, he may just be scratching the surface of his potential.
Last offseason, the Oakland Raiders were big players in free agency, bringing in three big name players to bolster their roster. Offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, linebacker Bruce Irvin, and cornerback Sean Smith were all much-sought after free agents, and they all wanted to join a franchise on the rise. All three were slated for big seasons, and while Smith struggled in his first season in the Silver and Black, Osemele and Irvin were both as good as advertised.
This offseason, the Raiders pulled off some good moves as well, but their biggest was signing Derek Carr to a contract that will keep him with the organization through 2022. After losing Latavius Murray to the Minnesota Vikings, the team went out and got the retired Marshawn Lynch to take over duties at running back, upgrading a position that finished sixth in the league in rushing yards last season. The highly talented, but very inconsistent Jared Cook was signed to add playmaking ability to the tight end position, and fans will certainly be expecting a giant season out of him in 2017.
On March 14, on the same day they signed offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, the Raiders plucked Cordarrelle Patterson from the Vikings. A two-time Pro Bowler, Patterson shook off two sub-par seasons to get his career back on track in 2016, and for the Raiders, he could prove to be, outside of Lynch, the most exciting addition this offseason. He has drawn huge praise from big names within the organization, including his new signal-caller.
Derek Carr is one of the best young quarterbacks in football, and even he was impressed with Patterson. Carr told Alex Marvez of The Sporting News that the “possibilities are limitless with a guy like that,” as he raved about the kind of talent Patterson is. Not only is Patterson going to be electric on special teams, but the offense can use him in the slot, on the outside, and running the ball, giving them a weapon they have not had in a long time.
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Even with the loss of Andre Holmes this offseason, the Raiders still go in 2017 with their top-3 receivers returning. As defenses focused most of their attention on the likes of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts actually caught five touchdowns last season.
With all three back, and Patterson being an upgrade over Holmes, the passing game should be even better this season. We all know what Patterson is going to bring on special teams, but this could be the year he finally catches 50-60 balls from the wideout position.
Remember, Patterson had Sam Bradford as his quarterback last season, so Carr is going to be a major upgrade. New offensive coordinator Todd Downing has also seen what Patterson brings to the table, calling him a “freak of nature,” and you know he is going to use him to stretch the field this season. Patterson is with a perfect organization, at a perfect time in his career, and I cannot wait to see him take one to the house this season.
Oakland did not return one punt, or kick for a touchdown last season, as rookie Jalen Richard averaged under ten yards per punt return. Richard will return as the punt returner in 2017, where he will be joined by DeAndre Washington, but kicks will be all up to Patterson. The speedster actually owns the NFL record with his 109-yard return back in 2013, just one of his five kick returns for touchdowns in his career, four of which have been over 100 yards.
For Patterson, the 2016 proved to be a bit of a renaissance, as he got back to the Pro Bowl for the first time since his rookie season. Sometimes it is good for a young player to go through struggles, and while the offense in Minnesota proved to be a bit vanilla last season, the 2017 Raiders offense will be anything but that. Offseason signings do not always have to be big-name players, they just have to be players that fit perfectly into what a team is trying to do. Patterson fills voids on offense, and on special teams.