SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The most excited, if not excitable player in the locker room following the San Francisco 49ers' OTA (organized training activities) practice on Thursday?
Look for the guy who wears the unusual-for-a-receiver No. 11.
Quinton Patton, the Niners’ fourth-round draft pick in 2013 out of Louisiana Tech with all of six career catches on 13 targets in 10 games, had reason to be happy.
He authored the highlight of the day, taking the top off the first-team defense and splitting safeties Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea to haul in a 45-yard touchdown pass in stride from Colin Kaepernick.
“It was the right read,” Patton said. “Cover 2, took the middle. The perfect pass, the perfect catch.”
He also had the perfect celebratory dance as well. Even if it was OTAs. And even if it was against his own teammates. Besides, Reid and Bethea were none too happy with allowing the score.
“Had to hit the Tootsie Roll,” Patton said, laughing.
Patton, who spent the early part of the offseason working out with Kaepernick in Arizona, was running with the first-team offense in part due to veteran Anquan Boldin's absence from the voluntary workouts.
And Patton was not about to let the opportunity to shine slip by without making some sort of statement, catching passes or dancing.
Besides, Michael Crabtree is also gone, having signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders and second-year receiver Bruce Ellington is out nursing an injury. That left plenty of reps for Patton and free-agent pickup Torrey Smith.
“I’m not going to say it’s my time,” Patton said before pausing for effect, “but I’m coming.”
How is Patton different?
“Totally different person,” he said. “Totally different animal.
“You’re just going to have to see.”