One of the interesting pickups this offseason that's been pretty under the radar has been Johnny Patrick, a cornerback claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers. We briefly covered him when he was signed, but I wanted to bring you an additional perspective. Patrick may not make it out of training camp, and he certainly can't be expected to start, but I think there's more to him than meets the eye.
We also briefly reviewed Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football when it was released, and I highly recommend you check it out. However in particular, I remembered reading a passage about Patrick when he was up for the draft, and how highly the team thought of him. Here is the passage:
Reviewing the cornerbacks took the most time. Across the league in 2011, corners were the most drafted players (thirty-nine). The reason was simple: Corners are football’s best athletes. Wide receivers are sprinters who know their destination, and corners must react and keep up. And now what was there on the video screen, some corner going for a retro look? No! Ryan had found [Dennis Thurman]’s draft card and slipped it in with the others. "Shit," DT said. "If I was coming out today, I’d be so rich I wouldn’t know any of you!"
Sometimes during the conversations, interest in a player achieved sudden momentum, as happened with Louisville corner Johnny Patrick. On film he was a stunning athlete – he possessed wonderful body control, tracked pass receivers as though there were a GPS in his helmet – until the ball arrived, at which point Patrick at times seemed to lack the will to make plays. But Pettine believed Patrick could be the Wilkerson of the secondary. "Look," he said to a long line of skeptical faces. "Revis is so much the exception. With corners, you have to tolerate more. Most corners you’ll have issues with." Now Ryan, always in search of objects on which to shine his enthusiasm, discovered he completely loved the kid. Okay, Patrick didn’t play like a Jet, but neither did Cro. For such bijous you made exceptions.
Please don't interpret this to mean that Patrick is the future. He may not even make it out of training camp. But, there is hope, if only a little, that he will thrive under Rex Ryan like Antonio Cromartie and that this gem in the rough may turn out to be a diamond.