In last year’s draft, the San Francisco 49ers drafted Quinton Patton in the fourth round. Most people stop paying attention to the draft after the third round, but Patton did something that got the attention of many fans. After he was drafted, Patton bought his own plane ticket to San Francisco to visit the team’s facilities. The only problem was, he was too early. He had to be turned away by the coaches because he wasn’t allowed to visit the facilities until the rookie minicamp. To Patton, this was probably embarrassing. But to everyone else, he showed eagerness and the willingness to get started right away.
After that little incident, Patton was in the spotlight. Fans couldn’t wait to see what he could do. Unfortunately, he injured himself and missed the first two games of the preseason, so fans would have to wait to see him in action. Once he finally did get into the game, confirmed fans’ feelings about him. In two games in the preseason, Patton scored two touchdowns. The hype for Patton was at an all-time high going into the season.
Patton didn’t play much the first three games of the season, and then he fractured his foot in the week four match-up against the Rams and missed most of the season. Even when he came back from his injury, he didn’t make much of an impact. He had a couple carries and one clutch catch against the Cardinals in week 17 that set up the game winning field goal, but other than that, he didn’t do much. But Patton has plenty of potential.
If the season started tomorrow, Patton would be starting alongside Michael Crabtree at wide receiver. But it looks as if the 49ers will re-sign Anquan Boldin and possibly sign and/or draft at least one other receiver. That’s a lot of competition for the second-year player. If the 49ers do re-sign Boldin, then Patton would be pushed down to the number three on the depth chart. Then if the 49ers use a high draft pick on a receiver or bring a free agent, he might be pushed down even more.
Even if the Patton somehow stays at the number three spot, the 49ers don’t run enough three wide receiver sets to get Patton properly involved in the offense. The 49ers run a heavy run scheme with lots formations that bring in heavy personnel and lots of two tight end sets. So it’s going to be difficult for Patton to see the field even with minimal competition.
If you’re waiting for Patton to make a big impact, then you might have to wait a couple more years. Boldin will be gone and there’s a chance Crabtree might be back either. That’s when Patton will be able to make his contributions on offense. The 49ers are hoping Patton can develop into a starter, and he has all the tools to do it, it just all depends if he can put them together or not.