Cordarrelle Patterson is a name that the New York Giants were readily linked to at the beginning of free agency. A four-time All-Pro kick returner with previous ties to head coach Joe Judge — who boasts an extensive special teams background — Patterson seemed like the ideal target for Big Blue. For a while, it appeared as if the Giants agreed.
In mid-March, both ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and New York Post’s Paul Schwartz reported the team had rumored interest in adding the former first-rounder into the fold. Ultimately, chatter connecting both parties died down. Fast forward to this week, and Patterson found himself on a visit in Atlanta on Wednesday, and by Thursday the Falcons locked up the do-it-all playmaker on a one-year deal. However, not before a last-ditch effort by Patterson’s former teammate to convince the 30-year-old to bring his talents to East Rutherford.
Kyle Rudolph Recruited Patterson to New York
Prior to inking his deal with Atlanta, Patterson took to Twitter to say goodbye to his Bears teammate. Giants tight end Kyle Rudolph — who played alongside Patterson for four seasons in Minnesota — found this to be the perfect time to put his recruiting cap on, tossing a few Statue of Liberty emojis Patterson’s way.
— Kyle Rudolph (@KyleRudolph) April 14, 2021
Unfortunately, Rudolph’s recruiting skills are not nearly as good as his receiving skills, as Patterson went on to sign with the Falcons a handful of hours later.
Selected with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Patterson never quite panned as the go-to receiving option the Vikings drafted him to be. Over his four-year run in Minnesota, the Tennessee product amassed 132 receptions for 1,316 and seven receiving touchdowns. His production on the offensive end has gotten much better since his Vikings exit, hauling in 84 receptions over the last four seasons.
Yet, what he lacks as a receiver, he makes up for it with his all-world — some might say Hall of Fame worthy — return skills. Making the Pro Bowl in half of his eight NFL seasons, Patterson has recorded eight kickoff returns for touchdowns over his career which ties him with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington for most in NFL history. Furthermore, Patterson has averaged an outrageous 29.8 yards per return over his 239 career kick returns, second in NFL history behind only the late-great Gale Sayers (30.6).
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Coach Judge Has Spoken Very Highly of Patterson in the Past
As we touched on above, Judge and Patterson spent the 2018 season together in Foxborough for the playmaker’s lone campaign with the New England Patriots. Clearly, that one season was enough to leave a lasting impression on the Giants head coach.
“Patterson is one of the best to ever play the game as a kick returner,’’ Judge proclaimed prior to last year’s Week 2 matchup against the Bears. “Simply put, this guy is someone that you’ll read about in history books. When you play against this guy, everybody on the field better be aware of where he’s at, whether that’s offense or on special teams.’’
“He’s done a tremendous job covering kicks. I’ve had personal experience with CP from my days somewhere else,” Judge added. “He’s just a pleasure to coach, he’s a fun competitor to be around. He’s just good for the locker room.”