"Mentally, it's going to be a project," one personnel man told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn on Wednesday. "Running routes, he doesn't know how to do any of that stuff. You may have to keep it simple for him, but this is football. It's not building a super glider or anything."
McGinn reported that Patterson's interview process did not go well at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"You've got to have some type of intelligence to pick up the system," an AFC personnel director said. "Toward the end of the year, they started to go away from running Patterson down the field on routes and gave him the ball on reverses and screens, even as a halfback at times. That starts to put a question mark in your head. Why?
"Well, there's reasons, and it's just not being as proficient with his route-running and not having the ability to make adjustments during the game."
Patterson is poised to be a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and most rank him the No. 2 receiver behind West Virginia's Tavon Austin. He caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns in his lone year at Tennessee. Patterson set the school record with 1,858 all-purpose yards and the Southeastern Conference single-season record with a combined kickoff and punt-return average of 27.6 yards.
There are few questions about his pure athletic ability. The concerns center whether he's capable of making a fast adjustment to complex NFL offensive systems.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.