San Francisco 49ers: 4 Options to Replace Michael Crabtree

2 of 5

Quinton Patton

Nov 24, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose State Spartans cornerback Ronnie Yell (25) defends against Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Quinton Patton (4) during the first half against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Quinton Patton was drafted in the fourth round, and he may take some time to get settled in. However, if Patton can get going right away, he can take over a huge role.

The wide receiver proved to be a dominant pass-catcher at Louisiana Tech, as he hauled in 104 passes. In a game against Texas A&M, he caught 21 passes for 233 yards. Patton has the hands to make hard catches, and he can definitely develop good chemistry with Kaepernick right off the bat. Kaepernick and Crabtree clicked immediately, and there’s no reason to believe that Kaepernick and Patton can do the same.

In addition to his spectacular pass-catching ability, Patton has the speed to break free from fast defensive backs. He ran a decent 4.48 40-yard dash, and if he can shape up his route-running, he should be able to make an impact from the get-go. With open competition, Patton has a great shot to seize Crabtree’s former role.

I expect Patton to rise to the occasion and step up in a big way. If Patton can do what he did in college and avoid getting fazed by the NFL, starting immediately is a possibility.

He may not start immediately, and he may be eased into the NFL if another receiver emerges as a prime candidate to start. Even if he doesn’t play much immediately, he should be on the field for a large chunk of the snaps by the time Crabtree returns. The athletic ability and talent is there; Patton just has to improve in some key areas and work hard.