When the 49ers drafted A.J. Jenkins late in the first round a year ago, it was considered a pretty substantial reach. The general consensus among amateur draft experts was: “First round? Who? SMH.” In this case the skepticism was warranted, as Jenkins was (say it with me now) historically bad in his rookie season.
On the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft the 49ers found a receiver where the opposite was the case, at least in reference to his pre-draft projections. Quinton Patton, a 6′ 0″, 204-lb receiver from high-flying Louisiana Tech, was taken by the San Francisco 49ers with their first fourth round pick, No. 128 overall.
Patton has done nothing but produce over the last two seasons: 183 receptions, 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns. As a result, most sites thought he’d go higher than he did.
Walter Football: “Projected Round (2013): 2-3.”
NFL.com: “In his two seasons starting, however, he has showing NFL teams paying close attention that he possesses the hands, route-running skills, and toughness to be a top-64 pick - and, eventually, a very good starter.”
CBS Sports: No. 58 player overall, seventh-ranked receiver (right behind Keenan Allen). Projected round: 2.
Here’s Patton’s media transcript:
Are you looking forward to coming out and seeing your new team?
“Yes, sir. I can’t wait to be there.”
Can you try to describe for us, people who are unfamiliar with you, who you are and what your strong suits are? How you play?
“Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech, fast, strong [inaudible], a blocker, able to block 60 yards downfield [inaudible]. Just an ultimate team player. Ultimate competitor out there on the field.”
What kind of returns experience do you have, doing punt returns and kick returns?
“I have a little bit of experience with kickoff returns. I’ve done some in the past.”
Do you feel comfortable in punt returns? The 49ers lost their punt returner in free agency and they might need somebody to come in and do that. Would that be something you feel you can come in and do?
“I’m open to whatever they need me to do. I’m trying to make an immediate impact on my team in the best way I can. It doesn’t matter what it is, we’ll just do it.”
Did you have much contact with the 49ers before the draft?
“Yeah, I’d say I had limited amount of contact with everybody and everything. But, it’s just the draft process and everything. So, I understood.”
Didn’t you have dinner with an assistant coach before your pro day?
“Yes, I did. We went to hibachi and it was great.”
Was that John Morton, the 49ers wide receivers coach?
How would you describe the offense you played in at Louisiana Tech?
“Some people would say it was a spread offense. Get the ball out quick and watch us go. Up tempo, no huddle. As many plays as possible as we can get.”
What do you know about the 49ers and their wide receivers situation?
“I just know [WR] Michael Crabtree. I know about [WR] Anquan Boldin. And I don’t know if [WR] Randy [Moss] is still there. And that’s it. And I guess me now.”
What do you think about the prospect of learning from somebody like Anquan Boldin?
“I’m probably put in the perfect position that I am right now, to learn somebody that’s older, is wise and that knows how to play the position.”
Do you feel like you need to get stronger at the NFL level? Is that one area of your game that you want to improve?
“Yes, sir. That’s definitely an area I need to improve, in the weight room, ,so I can be out there for three downs and not just one.”
Your last game was in San Jose, California. Do you like the South Bay already? Since you’re familiar with the area?
“Yes, sir. [Inaudible]. But, I love it. So, I’m back out there.”
You seem obviously pretty fired up. But, you were viewed as maybe a higher selection. Is there any disappointment about slipping to the fourth round?
“No disappointment, just happy to hear my name called.”
Did you watch much of the 49ers last season? Or were you able to catch on to QB Colin Kaepernick bursting onto the scene?
“Yes, sir. I got to catch some of the games, the regional games down there in Louisiana and everything. But, yeah I caught some of the games. [Inaudible].”
What were your impressions of Kaepernick as a quarterback?
“He’s a leader. He’s a feisty leader. He does all the things just to get ahead, no matter what it is. He comes from the MAC [inaudible].”
Where are you right now? What town in Louisiana?
“I’m not in Louisiana. I’m in Tennessee right now.”
“I’m in Smyrna, Tennessee right now.”
Is that your hometown?
“No, my hometown is Nashville, Tennessee. But, my mom got an apartment up here in Smyrna. She just moved here. So, that’s where I am right now.”