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2014 Draft Prep: Cordarrelle Patterson is set to take off

Senior Fantasy Writer
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At this time last year, Browns receiver Josh Gordon was getting a lot of hype as a sleeper. Even with a two-game suspension Fantasy owners were looking at Gordon with a late-round pick, with an Average Draft Position in Round 9 of a 12-team league.

Now, we all know how it worked out. Gordon had a magical year and finished as the No. 2 receiver in standard leagues behind Demaryius Thomas and ahead of Calvin Johnson. Give Gordon the two games he missed and he would have been the No. 1 player at his position.

If he didn't have the two-game suspension, his ADP likely would have been two or three rounds higher, possibly even in Round 5. That's where Vikings receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is being drafted now and we're hoping for similar results.

There's a lot to like about Patterson this season and the comparisons to Gordon on the field are somewhat valid. This is Patterson's second year and that's when Gordon became a star. Both are athletic specimens (Gordon is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and Patterson is 6-foot-2, 220 pounds) with dynamic speed. Both had similar Fantasy production as rookies in standard leagues (101 points for Gordon in 2012, 103 points for Patterson in 2013).

But the common thread for both receivers, which is a tremendous positive, is the man calling the plays in offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He was with the Browns in 2013 and will run the show on offense for the Vikings this season. That should help Patterson shine.

After Turner took the job in Minnesota in January, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Turner had already put in 10 plays for Patterson. We hope those are similar to the routes he drew up for Gordon, who had 159 targets for 87 catches, 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. He had an average of 11 targets per game. The hope is that Patterson gets similar treatment.

Another similarity for Gordon and Patterson is having mediocre quarterback play. Gordon posted his monstrous stats with Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden throwing him passes. Patterson will open with Matt Cassel, but he could also get rookie Teddy Bridgewater during the season. Have no fear because Turner can make it work, as he proved in Cleveland.

"I think he's doing a good job in the entire passing game," Turner told the Minnesota media recently about Patterson. "He's a young receiver. I think he's developing the way you'd expect him to develop, but I think he's shown that when given the opportunities he can catch the ball short, he can catch the ball intermediate and he obviously has the ability to get deep."

Patterson closed last season with flashes of his tremendous playmaking ability. He had double digits in Fantasy points in four games in a row and averaged more than 15 Fantasy points over that span. He had 15 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns in those four games and eight carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. And that's only scratching the surface of what he's capable of doing.

We hope to see more from Patterson as a receiver and not having to rely on just his athleticism to make plays. He only had one game with more than 35 receiving yards during his four-game stretch in 2013, and you have to wonder if the Vikings will give him an average of two carries a game when Adrian Peterson is 100 percent.

Patterson already made a splash in the preseason with a big performance against the Chiefs in the dress rehearsal game with three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown on five targets. The scoring play was a 53-yard bomb where Patterson got behind the defense and we hope for plenty of that this year.

There's some downside to Patterson, which is why he's ranked inside my top 20 and not my top 10. He's still raw after limited time as a receiver in college at Tennessee and then as a rookie last year, but he could easily live up to the hype, especially if Turner works his magic again.

Patterson is someone to target in Round 5 in all leagues. He might not be as successful as Gordon was last year, but you'll be glad Patterson is on your team. He's not only fun to watch, but his playmaking ability could have you salivating with all the Fantasy points you should rack up.

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Player News
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:17 pm ET) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
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