- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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In advance of attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis later this month, ESPNBoston.com has identified 10 prospects it wants to learn more about. Along those lines, Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. is helping provide background and insight from his time studying tape and attending all-star games such as the Senior Bowl.
Player: Quinton Patton
Position: Wide receiver
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 202 pounds
School: Louisiana Tech
Why he's on the radar: The Patriots had one of the NFL's oldest top-of-the-depth-chart receiving corps and could be looking for an infusion of talented youth.
Projection: Early rounds
Muench's take: "Louisiana Tech admittedly throws a lot of quick hitters out of its spread sets and no one is going to mistake the WAC for the SEC in terms of the talent level, but don’t be quick to dismiss Patton’s impressive production. He earned the respect of Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks in 2011 (Banks is a fringe first-round talent), caught 21 passes against Texas A&M this year, and he’s coming off a strong week at the Senior Bowl. While he doesn’t have any elite physical traits for a receiver, there are no glaring weaknesses either. He is a fluid route runner with enough burst to separate underneath and he’s shifty enough to pick up yards after the catch. In terms of his ability to stretch the field, he’s fast enough to challenge downfield when he gets a clean release, he tracks the ball well, and he has the body control to compete for 50-50-balls. He also dropped just one pass he should have caught during a four-game evaluation and he flashes the ability to catch passes a lot of receivers would drop. There are two areas of concern, however. He needs to get stronger at the line of scrimmage and tougher over the deep middle. To be fair, it’s not that he isn’t a competitor. He competes in jump-ball situations, he fights for yards after the catch and he wants the ball. The problem is bigger corners can push him around, plus he got caught taking his eye off the ball to locate a defender in the 2012 Houston game."