Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville Cardinals
Johnny Patrick may have more explosion out of his change of direction than any other defensive back prospect in this draft class. It shows in the game and he reiterated the fact at the combine. He has a good back pedal off the line of scrimmage and he meshes perfectly with fluid hips. This allows him to stay stride for stride with any receiver.
Just when a quarterback is relaxed and decides to go away from Johnny's side, he deliberately hides a cornerback blitz until the last second and uses a quick first step to either get the sack or force a hurried pass. What makes it more difficult for the quarterback and gives Johnny greater value is his ability to play either the left or the right side. With this flexibility, Patrick is free to follow the other team's number one receiving threat on each play and take him out of the game plan.
He also shows a heightened awareness to the running game and isn't afraid to step inside to try to make a play. His tackling and attack on the ball on these plays leads us into his weaknesses.
Patrick will get caught looking into the backfield on key third downs and the split second he's checking on the running back and quarterback, he's already put himself behind the wideout and will get beat on quick first down slants. When they do give the ball off to the running backs on these plays, he'll come up to defend, but doesn't get off of blocks too well. He can easily be taken out of the play by bigger blockers and doesn't fight through these blocks. Patrick also picks the wrong hole or waits for the ball carrier to come out of the pile of blockers before attempting the tackle. This leads to 10+ yard runs, when he could come up and stop the runner after three or four yards.
Johnny will second guess himself in protection throughout the game. There will be plays where he reads the cut perfectly, but will stutter step because he's second guessing himself. This allows a reception on what would have been a pick if he had just trusted his instincts and used his natural ability.
There is also a spin-off weakness that comes from his second guessing of himself. He'll have mental breakdowns in the game. He'll allow himself to get turned around in the wrong direction on a route. In the college game, his make up speed allows him to get back and break up the pass but in the pros, those mistakes turn into touchdowns. He's also prone to bonehead mistakes like giving up automatic first downs for jamming a receiver 10 yards down field when the ball is in the air. He has moments where he just loses his awareness and reverts back to bad freshman decision making.
Due to his back pedal, hips, and change of direction being so impressive, he's better off giving a 5-yard cushion off the line. When he gets up and tries to jam bigger receivers, he loses his balance, gets thrown off, or draws a penalty for holding.
The strengths in Patrick's game far outweigh the weaknesses in my mind. His flaws between the lines aren't teams' biggest concerns with Johnny. With the heightened awareness to players' off-the-field issues i.e. Mike Vick, Pacman Jones, Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger, etc. the NFL stated a few years ago that teams that continually draft players with off-the-field concerns will start to be punished as well as the player.
Johnny Patrick was arrested on June 27th, 2010. He was charged with a misdemeanor assault. He pleaded guilty later to a lesser charge. The facts of the case seem as if this could be nothing, but with Roger Goodell always looking to make an example, teams aren't afforded the luxury of brushing this under the rug. This could affect Patrick's draft stock by a round or so.
Patrick had a solid year in 2010 where he recorded five interceptions and an impressive 17 pass break ups. You can't have those types of numbers without constantly being around the ball.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Any year there could be a run on a certain position. The first round this year will belong to the defensive line, while the bottom part of the 1st could belong to teams trading back into the first to draft their quarterback of the future. If it plays out like I believe, there'll then be a run on cornerbacks in the second round. Johnny Patrick could be a beneficiary of this, as a team may reach for him in the mid-part of the second round.
The Oakland Raiders might select Patrick with the 48th pick halfway through the second round. He could come in on nickel situations at first and then replace Chris Johnson opposite of Stanford Routt. The Jacksonville Jaguars are so beat up in the secondary that they could quite easily draft defensive backs in the first and second.
I also like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (51), Philadelphia Eagles (54), Seattle Seahawks (57), Baltimore Ravens (58) and Pittsburgh Steelers (63) as teams that may take Johnny in the 2nd round. If all of those teams pass, then I can't see him getting past the following four teams in the early part of the third round: Cincinnati Bengals (66), Denver Broncos (67), Buffalo Bills (68), and Arizona Cardinals (69).
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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