San Francisco 49ers: Quinton Patton Has a Chance to Shine as a Rookie


For years to come, Bay Area fans might consider 2013 the year where the 49ers struck, um, gold, in the draft.

First, they did a masterful job of trading up at the right time to grab LSU safety Eric Reid, the person who has the chance to make 49ers fans forget about losing Dashon Goldson.  They continued to shore up their defense by grabbing possibly the best pass rusher in the draft, sans knee injury, in Cornellius “Tank” Carradine.  And, another victim of the same injury, Marcus Lattimore, was still for the taking when the Niners picked him in the fourth round.

There were other nice picks in there, many of whom came from college “power” conferences where the competition is increasingly stiffening.  And the ones who weren’t were absolute standouts at their respective schools.

Nov 24, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Quinton Patton (4) sits on the bench during the game against the San Jose Spartans at Spartan Stadium. San Jose Spartans won 52-43. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Specifically, Quinton Patton out of Louisiana Tech.

The strong point of the Niners is their defense, and it’s no secret to anyone else.  Now, with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick last year, head coach Jim Harbaugh has a player who provides the offense with an identity and a starting point from which to build.  It’s very likely that the team will often be spread out, especially with the acquisition of Anquan Boldin.  Add him to the core of Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and LaMichael James, and this will be a potent group of point-scorers.

A lot of the aforementioned players played in some form of a spread, read-option, or combination of the two.  Harbaugh will be looking to strike quickly and consistently.  Patton fits nicely into this role, as he was part of now-Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ prolific, nation-leading offense last year at Louisiana Tech (which also had an Air Raid-style offense).  And, with opposing defenses focused so much on the other guys on the field, Patton will have plenty of room on the inside when his number is called for those spread out, three-or four-wideout sets.

If Lattimore ever fully recovers from his injury, he’ll be the biggest steal of the draft.  However, Patton has a good shot to make an immediate impact this year, as a rookie.

He has the coach, the quarterback, and the veteran receivers in place to teach him — all he needs to do is take advantage.