Name: Andre Patton
NFL games played: 0
Games played for the Chargers: 0
Fun fact: Dolphins WR Leonte Carroo was a teammate of Patton in college, and once said that if it wasn't for injury, Patton would have gone on to be a better receiver that season than Carroo would have been.
Andre Patton is an intriguing prospect. He didn't put up great numbers at Rutgers during college, with just 1,164 yards in his four-year career there. Mike Williams had 1,361 in his final season in college, as a reference point. So, how does a WR from a small school who didn't really stand out while there make it to the NFL?
Well, with Patton, it's likely a case of what he can become, rather than what he is now. At his Pro Day, Patton ran a 4.40 40 yard dash (which would have been tied 3rd with WRs at the combine) and had scores that would have seen him tie for 7th in the 20-yard shuttle and tie for 4th in the 60-yard shuttle. That's pretty impressive - even more so when you consider Patton is 6'3 tall.
But before you get your hopes up, no. Patton is not the next Tyrell Williams. He might have run a 4.40, but he doesn't look that fast on tape. He's quick, sure, but he's not going to be consistently outrunning NFL caliber defenders. He's got good hands (especially in traffic), but he's still raw as a WR project, with his route running in particular clearly needing work.
What are Patton's chances of making the 53? If I'm being honest, next to none. This is a good but not great athlete who's not ready for the level of competition the NFL will provide. It doesn't help that the Chargers are absolutely loaded at WR, either. If they only keep 5, those spaces are already all but locked in (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman), and even if they do take six that only leaves space for one other guy. Patton is a long way down the depth chart right now, and the chances are he's not going to be able to climb up anywhere near enough to make the active 53.
Patton definitely has a shot at the practice squad, but my honest opinion is that even there, the competition for places will probably be too fierce for Patton to overcome. If you're a UDFA WR, the Chargers are not one of the first places you'd have liked to come.
Even with all that negativity, Patton is still a Charger, and so we're still interested in learning about him. So, who is Andre Patton?
Well, Patton has always been somewhat of a big fish in a small pond. Not only did he play his college football at Rutgers, but Patton was born and raised in Delaware - not exactly a hotbed of footballing talent. Patton played all over the field in High School, and in his senior season had 68 tackles, 3 interceptions, 761 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns, 677 rushing yards, and 14 rushing touchdowns. Oh, and he also returned kicks and punts, too.
Patton's on the field feats meant that he was almost unanimously ranked the #1 prospect in the state of Delaware, a prize equivalent to winning 'best Kobe Bryant impersonator' when the only competition is a small group of middle-aged women and Steve from next door. That might be a tad harsh on Delaware, but it's true that even being the #1 prospect in the state was only enough to label him the 81st best WR in the country, according to Rivals.com.
Going from Delaware to California is a radical change, and it seems like Patton is still getting used to his new surroundings:
Cali just seems to amaze me every day! They charge 10 cents to bags ma items at the store! WOW— Andre Patton (@dreezy10) May 31, 2017
As an aside, the idea that in America you get someone else to bag your groceries is so strange to me. In England, you bag them yourselves, and you better believe you'll be in line for disapproving stares from the people behind you if you take too long.
stalking researching Patton's Instagram, I was able to discover that he has a very cute dog. I then definitely didn't get distracted for an hour by watching YouTube videos of dogs. Not at all.
Patton studied Criminal Justice, with a minor in Labour Studies. When asked about a possible life outside football and why he chose Criminal Justice, Patton said this:
"The reason why I did that is because I find it very interesting. I'm a big Law & Order fan. Honestly, if there was a marathon on all day, I'd watch it. I have a lot of connections in the police force back at home. My best friend's mom is a police officer. Another kid I grew up with is a retired police officer. My dad's a fireman in the Wilmington Fire Department. Up here in Jersey with the amount of relationships I've made, I still have a lot of connections in the police force.''
Personally, I find it pretty cool when a student-athlete studies a course that you can tell they're genuinely interested in, rather than a generic course such as communication. Football doesn't work out for everybody - in fact, there's only a tiny percentage that it does work out for - and life away from football becomes so much easier when there's something you're genuinely passionate about and that ties into your college degree.
Back in High School, Patton won the 2012 Michael DeLucia Sportsmanship Award, an award given to "a senior Catholic school football player in greater Wilmington who has exemplified outstanding performance, attitude, and character on and off the field."
Not only did Patton standout in football, but he was a superb basketball player, too - he set the record for the most points scored by one player in history at his High School, racking up 1,472 points for his career. Considering most of the basketball games at my school ended up 40-34, I'm impressed. I'm also realizing how bad my school's basketball team was, but that's less important.
On one of the first articles in this 90 in 90 series, someone mentioned in the comments how it would be cool if they were to find out that one of the Chargers players was a keen chess player, for example. Well, after searching the deepest and darkest parts of the internet (I'm traumatized by some of the places this series has led me for research purposes), I found a profile on Patton from his High School - which lists him as a member of the chess club! I couldn't find any other mention of Patton and chess, but I'm going to trust his High School. We have our first Chargers chess player!
I'll finish the article with this quote from Patton, in an interview with The Gridiron Crew.
"Every successful athlete and icon has had to overcome struggles to reach where they are now. I am the type of person that is going to take every opportunity and run with it. I have my mind set on fulfilling the purpose I believe I was born with and when purpose meets passion, I think something - or someone - great is bound to happen."