New England chose to trade down, in typical Patriots fashion, picking up second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round draft picks from the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings picked Patterson and the rest might be history.
Patterson has been great for the Vikings, but the Patriots also did well in their haul from Minnesota. The Patriots chose linebacker Jamie Collins No. 52 overall, cornerback Logan Ryan No. 83, wide receiver Josh Boyce No. 102 and they traded the No. 229 pick for running back LeGarrette Blount.
Let’s check in on all five of those players a year later.
Patterson had a solid rookie season, but he looks primed for a breakout year in 2014. He had 45 catches for 469 yards with four touchdowns as a rookie with 12 rushing attempts for 158 yards and a touchdown. He also added 43 kick returns for 1,393 yards with two touchdowns.
In Week 1, Patterson had three catches for 26 yards, three carries for 102 yards and a touchdown and two kick returns for 48 yards.
Patterson is a versatile playmaker who has the size and speed to play “X” receiver for the Vikings. He’s caught on quickly with the Vikings, but that might not have been the case if he had been drafted by the Patriots. Rookie wideouts have trouble picking up the Patriots’ complex offense, and Patterson was coming in very raw.
Collins started just eight games for the Patriots last season, but he made a major impact down the stretch of the season once Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes suffered injuries. He’s already one of the NFL’s premier linebackers in pass coverage, and he’s shown high upside as a situational pass rusher.
Collins recorded eight tackles in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins with a forced fumble and pass deflection. He allowed just two receptions on seven targets for 24 yards while covering the Dolphins’ tight ends.
Collins missed just one snap against the Dolphins, and while he’s a premier player against the pass, he still has trouble missing tackles and filling rush lanes.
Collins, like Patterson, has the upside to be a perennial Pro Bowl selection.
Ryan started his rookie season at the bottom of the Patriots’ cornerback depth chart, but he earned more playing time as the season progressed by playing consistently and making big plays. He recorded five interceptions, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a rookie. He also returned a pick for a touchdown against the New York Jets in Week 7.
Ryan played just 19 snaps in Week 1 against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he made his impact felt while playing a cornerback/free safety hybrid role. He forced a fumble after a big hit on running back Lamar Miller in the first half and broke up the only pass in which he was targeted.
Ryan is a starting-caliber cornerback, but he has an uphill battle to climb the Patriots’ depth chart with Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington and Malcolm Butler all competing for snaps.
Boyce has been a disappointing fourth-round pick for the Patriots. He was released during final roster cuts this preseason, cleared waivers and signed to the practice squad. He caught nine passes for 121 yards as a rookie.
The Patriots traded the No. 229 overall pick for Blount, who became their starting running back at the tail-end of the season after Stevan Ridley’s fumbling issues popped up. Blount carried the Patriots into the playoffs and to a divisional-round victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Blount ran for 772 yards on 153 carries with seven touchdowns during the 2013 regular season and added another 172 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns during the playoffs. The Patriots let Blount walk to the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency over the offseason, but his impact on the 2013 team can’t be forgotten.
Dobson wasn’t part of the Patterson deal, but the Patriots likely wouldn’t have drafted the Marshall product No. 59 overall had they selected a wideout in the first round.
Dobson had 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, and he was inactive in Week 1 as he continues to recover from a broken foot. Dobson could have a huge impact on the Patriots if he can catch up physically and mentally.
Patterson is a bigger name than Collins — likely for fantasy reasons and because he plays on offense — but one can argue that the Patriots linebacker has had just as big of an impact as the Vikings wideout. Both players are starters and major playmakers for their respective teams.
Adding in Ryan, and Blount’s impact from 2013, the Patriots are winning this trade for now, but if Patterson’s breakout continues, and if Collins doesn’t improve against the run, this trade could look bad for the Patriots if they can’t find a consistent “X” receiver. If Dobson breaks out, the pain of losing Patterson could dwindle for Patriots fans.