While much of the hype surrounding tonight’s game focused on a number of draft picks, it was two undrafted rookie free agents that stood out. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Damoun Patterson made a push forward to stand out from the pack with a strong preseason debut.
Patterson was a rookie minicamp tryout invitee who earn a 90-man roster spot in that fashion. Now he is looking to keep moving forward, taking a nice step in a positive direction wit ha good showing against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The rookie’s night was highlighted by a 29-yard touchdown reception thrown by Joshua Dobbs in the second quarter, but it was one of six receptions for 77 yards. Both figures were game-highs for either club.
The Youngstown State product has had a positive offseason so far, getting off to a good start in training camp and making plays. Whatever momentum he may have lost in recent practices he more than made up for with his performance inside a stadium for the first time as a professional.
He even got the opportunity to demonstrate some toughness as he took a good lick after one reception only to stay down. He returned shortly after that and made another reception that put the Steelers into field goal range on third down.
While Patterson’s night was far from perfect, and featured a number of notable flaws in terms of the polish in his route-running—he had a skinny post that he ran too skinny, for example—I think that he clearly showed there is something to work with.
He should be competing for a spot on the practice squad this year, and I predicted that he would earn a place there in my first roster prediction of the preseason period yesterday. Should he prove to be an asset on special teams as well, however, it’s not impossible that the even gets kept as a sixth wide receiver.
Of course there’s a long way to go before he finds out whether or not he is going to have any kind of job as an athlete in September, but it was a good start for sure. He is competing with the likes of Marcus Tucker, Tevin Jones, and Trey Griffey right now as he looks to rise above the crowd that has gathered at the back half of the wide receiver depth chart.
Should Eli Rogers begin the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform List, that would improve his chances of being on the 53-man roster for at least the first six games. He has gotten our attention; now it’s up to him to keep it.