Rookie WR Mitchell impresses in return to practice


Rookie WR Mitchell impresses in return to practice

FOXBORO - A day after missing practice for an undisclosed reason, Patriots rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was back at it on Day 4 of training camp and made his presence known.

The former University of Georgia standout showed up in 1-on-1 drills near midfield, selling a go route before stopping on a dime to catch a laser from Jimmy Garoppolo. He followed that by snapping off a quick slant against Darryl Roberts, leaving the young cornerback in his wake as Garoppolo delivered another strike.

The group then progressed into the red area and Mitchell was at it again, shaking V’Angelo Bentley along the back line of the end zone for an easy pitch and catch from Tom Brady. A dozen snaps or so later, on his next opportunity, the 6-1, 200 pounder used his body well to shield Roberts and reel in a back shoulder throw from Brady, drawing praise from not just the quarterback, but coaching staff as well. Mitchell added another catch on 7-on-7 before absorbing more mental reps when the Pats did more 11-on-11 team work.

After practice, Mitchell smiled when asked about winning those individual battles.

“It’s all pride,” he said. “It’s man on man. Who’s better? And whoever ends up with the ball, or in their case, if no one ends up with the ball, they won.”

Mitchell is like a lot of players, especially the young ones, burying himself in this complex playbook, one that’s caused so many issues before.

“I haven’t heard that,” he joked.

But Mitchell admitted he’s immersed in the playbook so he can play at the tempo required to have success on this level.

“My mom always said you put as much into something that you want to. It’s only hard if you make it. Learning is just simply looking over information long enough so it becomes habit or instinctive. And that’s all you have to do. Now will that take an hour? Or five? I guess that depends on how well you learn.”

So to be clear, he’s not going home to watch Game of Thrones or read magazines.

“Well Game of Thrones season is actually over. I do love that show, but it ended right before training camp, so lucky me,” Mitchell said 

It being Mitchell’s first camp, and his first pro organization, he doesn’t have much to go on comparatively speaking, but the fourth-round pick (112th overall) is somewhat in awe over how everything he does has been analyzed and dissected, right down to the smallest thing.

“Everything matters. From what you eat, to how you hydrate, to the amount of rest you get, to the amount of time you spend doing plays. There’s not a single thing, the cleats you wear, the way you strap on your pads, to your mouthpiece, there’s not a piece that goes unnoticed. And that by far is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen thus far in my young life. To see something so detailed and you immediately understand why the Patriots are who they are.”

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...