A name buzzing among Steelers scouts this past college football season was Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Here was my writeup on Patterson in early January regarding the buzz in Steelers circles about Patterson:
— “Here’s a name I’m told Steelers scouts have been buzzing about during 2012 college season; Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (6-3, 207). Patterson has a very small sample size as he played just one season at Tennessee, coming from junior college, but he has the upside of a No. 1 receiver and is also extremely versatile as he can return kicks and had 1,858 all-purpose yards this season. In the receiving game, Patterson had 46 receptions for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2012
Patterson has a special skill set and could be a special player at the NFL level, which has the Steelers very intrigued about him and I’m told the Steelers will be doing a lot of homework on him in the coming months.
With the Steelers prepared to lose Mike Wallace, indications are wide receiver will be a high priority early in the draft. Mel Kiper’s scouting report on Patterson.”Great size and leaping ability, strong hands, with explosiveness as a runner with the ball in his hands. Can go up and get it. Helps his QB. Ceiling of a very good No. 1.” — Posted on Jan 7, 2013

All indications are yes and that Patterson will garner serious consideration from the Steelers at No. 17. Patterson is a player some feel is falling on draft boards due to concerns of him catching on to the complexity of NFL schemes and once regarded as a top-10 pick, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin is now the hot name and projects as the first wide receiver to come off the board.
Patterson, though, is a top-10 talent who scouts have called an “extraordinary talent” and the Steelers, as expected, have been doing a ton of homework on him. With his stock falling a bit, the Steelers feel Patterson is a very realistic possibility to be there at No. 17.
GM Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin held a private meeting with Patterson prior to Tennessee’s pro day and hosted Vols QB Tyler Bray for dinner the night before to pretty much pick Bray’s “brain about Patterson,” an NFL source said.
The Steelers I’m told don’t feel Patterson has any glaring character concerns.
The way the Steelers operate in how they draft is that they don’t draft a player with expectations of him being a significant one year contributor.
They are always drafting with the mindset of year two being that pivotal year for a high draft pick and Patterson fits the mold of a prospect at a position where the Steelers can let him develop the right way with Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and veterans Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress in the fold among the top-4 receivers. It’s not a great group but it’s a good enough group to get by.
Evaluators seem to feel Pittsburgh could be the perfect type of situation for Patterson who shouldn’t be rushed into a prominent role. What makes Patterson so attractive isn’t just his dynamic ability on the outside but it’s that he’s an excellent returner and that’s an area where he could be put into a prominent role right off the bat.
Patterson is said to be among three past catchers that the Steelers figure to give strong consideration to at No. 17 if they don’t trade down. The others being Tavon Austin and Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert, although, Eifert would be a longshot direction for the Steelers to go, despite the possible great fit due to Heath Miller being on the wrong side of 30 and coming off major knee surgery. Few believe Austin gets by the Rams at No. 16.
If the Steelers were to trade down into the late first round/early second, Cal’s Keenan Allen and Tennesee’s Justin Hunter, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins could become wide receivers of interest in the early rounds.