Cordarrelle Patterson has completely transformed the Falcons offense while only playing on a one-year, $3 million contract in what has to be the best value free agent signing of the offseason. Every time I write about the former All-Pro return specialist, I feel the need to tip my hat to Terry Fontenot and the Falcons coaching staff because no other organization thought to use Patterson in this capacity. He’s officially listed as a running back and leads all of his position in receiving yards, but the do-it-all 30-year-old means so much more than that to his team.
Patterson leads the Falcons in rushing yards (411), rushing touchdowns (4), receiving touchdowns (5), and is second in rushing attempts (93), receptions (41), and receiving yards (500). It is obvious how much of the Falcons’ offense revolves around him. Against the Jaguars last Sunday, Patterson finished with career-highs in rushes (16), rushing yards (108), and rushing touchdowns (2) in a 21-14 Falcons victory. The wide receiver/running back/returner is being unleashed in Arthur Smith’s offense, but he seems to want more than just that title.
Patterson has said before this season that he would like to get time on defense with a goal of getting an interception. Well, in that game against Jacksonville, he logged a snap on defense. Smith even said Patterson could legitimately contribute on defense and joked he might put him at free safety on the depth chart this week. Well, it wasn’t a joke; the team’s official depth chart now lists him as a backup safety.
Dean Pees mentioned that he does have a package for Patterson at safety, even if he followed it up by saying he hopes he never has to use it. Obviously, Patterson intercepting an NFL pass is far-fetched, but at this point, it is probably better to just stay quiet. He very well could end his career with an interception; I’m not sure there’s something on the field Patterson can’t do. After spending the first eight seasons as one of the best return men in football, he’s blossomed into one of the best players in football.