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2019 Broncos roster review: Receiver Tim Patrick

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Is a breakout coming?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Tim Patrick made the most of his opportunity in 2018.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a great while, a guy falls through the cracks despite what looks like all of the tools you’d possibly dream for.

Tim Patrick is one such guy.

After Patrick was passed over on Draft Day, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens. They waived him a couple months later and the Kyle Shanahan 49ers picked him up. Patrick lasted to all of August before he was waived again on the first of September.

It wasn’t until October that his path crossed with the Broncos, who signed him to their practice squad, released him, re-signed him, and finally handed him a futures contract at the end of 2017. A pretty typical ride on the roster bubble.

Even for the top-tier guys, wide receiver is notoriously hard for rookies to adjust to in the NFL. Casual fans overlook how technical the position is because a guy runs fast and seems to be open at will when in college.

Against professional competition, receivers are asked to improve at their release and consistently deceive defensive backs who spend hours studying their body language. Receivers have to learn to do this while also grasping more routes than most ever thought possible in college and learning to read complex NFL defenses for the adjustments their QB counts on them to make.

Generally speaking, receiver is a position where patience is required. It’s best to realistically hope for flashes early in a guy’s career as he irons out all of the kinks. Tim Patrick definitely flashed in 2018.

Tim Patrick Profile

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 208 pounds

Age: 25

Experience: 3rd season

Patrick went undrafted in 2017 despite some eye-popping Pro Day numbers. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and a 6.99 3-Cone. His vertical jump was 37.5 inches, and the broad was 128. Every one of those numbers is better than a prospective WR. Throw all that in a 6-foot-4, 208-pound frame, and it turns some serious heads.

Patrick also threw up 225 pounds 22 times, which is ridiculous considering his 33 5/8-inch arms. Even better, he brings both of these things to the field. When you turn on the tape, he displays the physicality to block and bang his way open in the passing game.

The good

  • Measurables
  • Uses length to help release from jam.
  • Strong swim move.
  • Adept blocker.
  • Body control.
  • Solid hands.
  • Will fight YAC.

Beyond his intriguing physical traits Patrick brings to the field, he’s also a promising young wide receiver. He displays a solid press release and uses his length and athleticism to beat opposing jams. He also shows signs of developing a really nice swim move.

Patrick is effective against the press.

Patrick is more limber than his 6-foot-4 frame would suggest. He shows the ability to drop his weight and beat DBs in bail technique with hitches and comebacks. Cover 3 is a staple in the NFL, and all three teams in the AFC West will utilize it a great deal in 2019.

Patrick provides Rich Scangarello a boundary option to attack C3 shells.

He displays the body control and awareness to make catches on the sideline without stepping out of bounds. At the catch point, he can be counted on to haul in passes a quarterback lands within his frame.

Patrick will fight for extra yards after the catch.

The bad

The biggest reason for Patrick’s unceremonious arrival into the NFL has to do with a scary compound fracture that saw bone protruding from his leg during his junior season at Utah. He applied for a medical redshirt and came back in 2016, only to miss the 3 games of his senior year due to a high ankle sprain.

Beyond the health concerns, Patrick’s physicality worked against him on a couple of snaps against Richard Sherman when the veteran corner fell out of what looked like press pre-snap. Patrick lunged to meet the jam only to grasp at air, which caused him to lose precious time at the start of the play. This hurt, as he does need time to reach his top speed.

Patrick also needs some time to throttle down out of a full sprint. This was most apparent on his deep comeback routes. This also showed up on speed cuts, as Patrick had a tendency to round off his break instead of making the 90 degree turn. This gave opposing corners a clue as to where he was going to go and provided them an opportunity to break on the ball.

Lastly, Patrick had a couple of disappointing drops because he was anticipating contact where there was none.

This should have been caught.

Tim Patrick’s roster status with the Broncos

With Emmanuel Sanders’ Week 1 status in question, there’s ample opportunity for young receivers to make an impression on the new coaching staff through camp. No player has as much to gain from E’s absence as Patrick, and from here it looks like he’ll serve as no lower than WR4 in 2019.

From there it comes down to health luck, scheme, and making the most of his targets. No team in the league last year used 11 personnel (3 receivers, 1 back, 1 tight end) as little as Kyle Shanahan.

If Rich Scangarello leans as heavily on Andy Janovich and/or George Aston as much as Shanny did Kyle Juszczyk, the third and fourth receivers could have a great season without the raw numbers to prove it.

Look instead for Patrick to help converting longer yardage situations and contribute splash plays. If 2018 is any indication, he’ll be one Broncos Country can count on for both.

Patrick with a mean in & out.

Poll

Will Tim Patrick make the final 53-man roster?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Definitely
    (806 votes)
  • 17%
    Maybe
    (177 votes)
  • 1%
    Probably not
    (11 votes)
994 votes total Vote Now