Michigan NFL Draft Spotlight: Shea Patterson

This is the first of a series of stories on Michigan football players and how their play could translate in the NFL

ProFootballFocus.com's Josh Liskiewitz sits down with me and gives his thoughts and draft grades for the Michigan players.

Patterson is a prospect that gained a lot of attention in the offseason, with WalterFootball.com even slotting the junior as a second-rounder in 2019. Of course, he has another year of eligibility if he wishes to use it.

Shea Patterson: 3rd round

Through the first two games of the season, Liskiewitz said he hasn’t seen much creativity from the Wolverines on offense; U-M ranks 93rd nationally in total offense and 62nd in scoring offense.

“I’m worried that they’re not adapting to the modern game. They’ve got a quarterback that really should be in a spread system, we heard all summer about how they were in shotgun doing all these new concepts and we really haven’t seen that.”

There definitely has been some very encouraging moments from Patterson, Liskiewitz said.

“His play-action rollouts are great. When you get Patterson out in space that is when he is at his best."

“When you get him out of the pocket, you see his athleticism in terms of his ability to buy time, and yet understand where his receivers are opening up. His ability to make tough throws on the run."

“He had one throw against Western Michigan that was across his body when he was moving to his left that was just an eight yard comeback route. That was as good of a throw as we saw in the country. It’s just an eight-yard route, but quarterbacks can’t make that throw.

"I can’t tell you the last time I saw a Michigan quarterback be able to make that throw and I’ve been following Michigan football my whole life.”​

It’s hard to say exactly what Patterson needs to improve on with such a small sample size of film to go off of but accuracy is always something that needs to be improved, especially with Patterson’s skill set.

“Accuracy is always No. 1. That’s where he didn’t chart out well at Ole Miss. So he’s got to be able to do that at Michigan obviously. Because he doesn’t have the huge rocket arm, he can’t get away with being an inaccurate quarterback in terms of the NFL.

"If you look at Josh Allen last year, highly inaccurate quarterback. But, he’s got a cannon so the NFL tends to forget about that so he was still drafted in the top 10. That’s not quite the case with Patterson. I’m not saying that he has a weak arm, but he has to develop those other skills because he doesn’t have the big, flashy arm.”

Patterson has completed 68.1 percent of his pass attempts this year bur ranks just 54th nationally in pass efficiency with a 147.80 rating. He also ranks 54th in ESPN.com's QBR (quarterback rating).

“I think back to [2015 Michigan QB] Jake Rudock. He graded out as one of the two or three worst quarterbacks in the country before Michigan's bye [Oct. 24, 2015]. And then the second half of the year it was just the complete opposite, to the point where at their bowl game he looked like a legit NFL prospect. So there is a level of progression there I think we can expect from Patterson.

“I also wonder too if the depth and injuries at wide receiver have played a little bit in the slow start . I think it probably threw Michigan a little bit of a curveball. I don’t have any issues with their top two guys, but beyond that I think they are a little bit limited in what they can do. So that’s probably not helping either.”

Patterson’s arm is not the type that will immediately put him in the top of draft boards, but his athleticism and throw-making potential is enough to put him on scout’s boards.

“I don’t think that we are talking about a top pick because he doesn’t have the flashy arm or the accuracy. If he progresses and does a lot of the things that we think he can do and they win some big games, and he shows accuracy and shows the decision making that needs to be consistent throughout the year, then I could see him in day two somewhere (rounds 2-3) because teams are intrigued a bit by his athleticism," Liskiewitz said.

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