Cordarrelle Patterson visits the Detroit Lions facility

Posted Mar 8, 2013

Former Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson visits the Detroit Lions facility Friday as one of the team's 30 pre-draft visits

Cordarrelle PattersonWide receiver Justin Hunter was in Allen Park Thursday for a pre-draft visit with the Detroit Lions.

Friday, it was former Tennessee teammate and fellow receiver Cordarrelle Patterson visiting with coaches and front office personnel as one of the team's 30 allotted pre-draft visits.

Patterson and Hunter formed one of the best receiver tandems in all of college football last season and are considered two of the top three receivers available in April's NFL Draft, along with West Virginia's Tavon Austin.

With two of the draft's best receiving talents on the same college team, how were there enough footballs to go around in the Tennessee offense last season?

"We made it work," Patterson said of he and Hunter in the Vols offense last year.

"Neither one of us was selfish and we just talked to each other and told each other that we were going to make it happen. We're proud of each other."

They're competitive with one another, too.

"We like to compete," Patterson said with a smile. "I told him he owes me for beating him in the 40 (yard dash) at the Combine.

Patterson ran a 4.42 to Hunter's 4.44.

The next benchmark will be who get's drafted first in April.

Patterson was expected to be the third receiving option behind Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers for the Vols before the 2012 season, but he was catapulted into the stating lineup after Rogers left the program.

A junior college transfer, Patterson spent just one season at the major college level, but certainly made an impression.

The athletic 6-foot-2, 216-pound junior became the first NCAA player in four years to score a touchdown four different ways (rushing, receiving, punt return, kick return).

He finished 2012 with 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns, and 25 carries for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 28.0 yards per kickoff return with a touchdown and 25.3 yards and a score on four punt returns.

If the game tape wasn't enough, Patterson showed up to the NFL Scouting Combine last month and ran that fine 40-yard dash with a 37-inch vertical.

The obvious concerns for NFL teams - and the likely reason the Lions wanted to spend some more time with Patterson Friday - is his lack of experience playing major college football.

"I can't help that I had to go to junior college (grades) and then Tennessee for one year, but I had to make the best decision (for me)," he said. "Teams don't seem too worried about it because they know I can play at the next level and I'm ready to take my talents to the next level."

Patterson is one of the most explosive players in the draft with a unique combination of size, speed and physicality. He's drawn some physical comparisons to Julio Jones when he was coming out of Alabama in 2011 and is expected to be a top-15 pick.

"When I get the ball in my hands I just feel like I can do whatever I want with it and just bully a defender and get free and score," Patterson said.

The Lions are on the lookout for that type of player opposite Calvin Johnson on the outside. Maybe Patterson will fit that role.