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Jets vs. Raiders: Cordarrelle Patterson Could Be an X-Factor in Oakland’s Offense

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders have plenty of big names at the skill positions. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree comprise a pretty solid receiver duo. Oakland added Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook in the offseason. They added another playmaker in the offseason who could be an X-factor in their offense, Cordarrelle Patterson.

Patterson was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2013 Draft. To put it bluntly, he was a bust. He didn’t develop at all as a wide receiver.

Why am I talking him up then? There’s a difference between being a bust and being a useless football player. A receiver drafted in the first round is expected to be a high quality starter, potentially the type of player a team can build its offense around. Patterson wasn’t good enough to justify that selection.

He does, however, bring certain skills to the table. Namely, he is explosive with the ball in his hands. His career return average is over 30 yards (elite). He also has a 10.7 yard average on 31 carries in his career. Ask him to run routes, and he won’t help you much. Put the ball into his hands in space, and you’ve got a dangerous situation for the other team. Patterson might not have justified such a high selection, but he did produce 7 offensive touchdowns as a rookie. There is some danger.

Guys like Patterson can be particularly dangerous on offenses with a lot of skill position talent. There is a tendency to focus on the big guys and lose track of an ancillary part like him. That can be dangerous. And it is the perfect role for him. He isn’t good enough to carry an offense, but I think he can be a really solid supporting part for an offensive coordinator willing to be creative in manufacturing touches.

The Raiders showed they are going to incorporate Patterson into their offense Week 1.

They ran an end around for him.

To their credit, the Titans stayed disciplined here. They kept an eye on Patterson. They read their keys, and they didn’t overpursue. That’s what you have to do. This could have been a big play had they not handled it well. The point here isn’t that every Patterson touch will be a big play. It’s that the Raiders are going to incorporate him into their offense. They are making it known to the league through the film that you have to account for him.

They also threw in a wrinkle with Patterson lining up in the backfield.

Again, the Titans handled it well. It is just about staying awake. If a defense falls asleep at the switch, you could end up in a situation where a linebacker ends up in space against Patterson out of the backfield.

Guys like Patterson can also be dangerous if you focus too much on them. Remember, he is a supporting part. Paying him TOO much attention leaves open space for other playmakers.

Look at the way these Titans defenders bite on a fake end around as they are focused too much on Patterson. Then see the space open for a screen the other way.

That’s the dilemma of facing an offense with a lot of weapons. The supporting guys can cause headaches if you pay them too much or too little attention.