40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad Jump: 117 inches
Short Shuttle: 4.35 seconds
3-Cone: 7.03 seconds
Bench press: 19 reps
A Glendale, Maryland native, Patterson stepped on Buffalo’s campus as a 2-star recruit.
He set a freshman rushing record with 1,013 yards and 14 TDs. He split carries (183-180) with fellow freshman Kevin Marks, a 6’0, 205-pounder. Marks tallied 4.7 YPC to 5.5 for Patterson.
Before we dig into Patterson’s final 2 years, let’s review Marks’ production over that span:
2019: 227 carries, 1,035 yards, 8 TDs (4.6 YPC) … 12 catches, 41 yards, 0 TD
2020: 112 carries, 741 yards, 7 TDs (6.6 YPC) … 4 catches, 3 yards, 0 TD
Look at Patterson’s numbers above, and you’ll see he routinely outperformed his teammate as a rusher. Of course, looking at Marks’ 2020 production, you see the system was ripe for RB production. Pro Football Focus graded Buffalo’s O-line #1 in the country in run blocking.
So knock Patterson a bit if you want. Still, he fared well in PFF’s advanced metrics. He ranked 7th in the nation in missed tackles forced (46); 16th in yards after contact per attempt (4.74). His 155.8 Elusive Rating topped that of Najee Harris (100.5) and Travis Etienne (100.6).
Back in 2019, Patterson set a school rushing record. He hit a remarkable 298 yards late in the season against Bowling Green. In fact, he scored 10 rushing TDs over the final 2 games of the regular season.
Now, 2020 didn’t turn up a large sample due to a COVID-shortened season. Patterson made 6 appearances, missing only the Bulls’ bowl game due to a right knee sprain. Patterson at least appeared 100% after participating at UB's Pro Day.
While he posted his 3rd straight 1,000-yard season last fall -- with 38.1% of his yardage coming in 1 game vs. Kent State -- Patterson’s efficiency was held in check twice:
* vs. Miami (OH): 20 carries, 73 yards
* vs. Ball State: 18 carries, 47 yards
In those 2, Marks tallied 16-109 (vs. Miami) and 9-93-1 (vs. Ball State).
Just food for thought.
Also of note: Patterson didn’t draw a single target in 2020. That followed a 2019 season with 13 catches and a 2018 campaign with 7. In my film study below, I caught only one instance of Patterson receiving a target (2019 vs. Robert Morris).
Let’s take a look at that and more…
Games watched: Akron (2020), Miami OH (2020), Bowling Green (2020), Kent State (2020), Robert Morris (2019)
Patterson was masterful at making guys miss. Sure, playing in the MAC helped. But he showed the sharp cuts and stop-start quickness that probably would have fared well against anybody...
Patterson busted off a long TD run above, but he'll be tested by speedier defenses in the pros. His 4.58 forty time (at 195 pounds) gives him a subpar Speed Score of 91.80. (Anything at or above 100 is considered solid to excellent.)
Here you see his strong balance through contact and another home run dash. This was just 1 of his 8 scores on a burnable tape for the Kent State defense.
I mentioned UB's offensive line in the previous section. It really shows up on film, as Patterson had the benefit of running through some huge holes. That certainly inflated his rushing stats.
Here's the lone catch I was able to find. Patterson's 23 career targets remain a bit of a mystery, but the play above is just another showcase of his elusiveness.
Patterson checks plenty of boxes: production, breakout age and durability among them. His college tape showed a guy with filthy cutting ability and a veteran-like feel for finding holes.
He got away with his 5’7, 195-pound frame in college, but size limitations are clearly a weak spot entering the pros. There simply isn't a great track record for sub-200 pound RBs. Patterson also needs to prove he can contribute in the passing game after showing nothing in that area in 2020.
At bottom, the 21-year-old looks like a mid- to late-round pick who'll need a favorable situation to see the field early. Over a longer time period, it's quite possible he sticks as a change-of-pace/timeshare back on elusiveness alone.
See where he sits among our current ranking of the rookie RB class.