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Raiders want to get Cordarrelle involved on offense

  • By Max Meyer
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Cordarrelle Patterson is attempting to revitalize his career in Oakland. While the former first-round pick was signed by the Raiders this offseason for his prowess in the return game, he's already turning heads on the offensive side of the ball.

After the Vikings selected him with the No. 29 pick in the 2013 draft, Patterson racked up 132 receptions in his four years in Minnesota. Following a mere two catches in 2015, Patterson snagged a career-best 52 balls on 70 targets. His 74.3 catch percentage last season was also a significant jump from the 54.8 percent success rate he registered over his first three seasons combined.

Can the tantalizing talent take another step forward as an offensive threat? He's gotten off to a fast start at minicamp, and has generated excitement among the Silver and Black coaching staff in the process.

"He's a fun tool," offensive coordinator Todd Downing said, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I won't speak too much about how he was used in the past; that's somebody else's job. But I can tell you that we're going to have fun looking for ways to get him involved in the offense. He's a big, strong, physical, dynamic-with-the-ball-in-his-hands type player, and we're excited to see what he can do for us."

Arguably the biggest reason for Patterson's struggles as a wideout was the constant switching of who was throwing him the pigskin. He worked with six different quarterbacks during his time in Minnesota. Needless to say, none of them possessed the talent of the gunslinger he's currently trying to build a rapport with.

"You see what [Derek Carr] can do, and I've been watching him for a long time. He's one of the greats, and there's a lot of great quarterbacks out there," Patterson said, via the team's website. "Getting the chance to play with Derek Carr is an honor, to be here, and like you said, he's a great quarterback. So I'm just happy to be here."

Make no mistake, Patterson's bread and butter in Oakland will still be on special teams. His 31.7 yards per kickoff return average led the league last season. He was named a first-team All-Pro and awarded an invitation to the Pro Bowl as a returner in 2013 and 2016. How big of a role he plays on the unit this season, though, could be determined by his growth as an aerial threat.

"We're excited about him," special teams coordinator Brad Seely said. "We're really happy he's on our roster. Obviously, in Minnesota, he was an outstanding returner. We feel like he can bring that to our table. He also can be a coverage guy for us on punt team. And it always comes down to how much offense is he going to play. We want to keep our guys as fresh as possible and balance with getting as many reps out of them as we can."


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