The 49ers signed RB Jacques Patrick from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad as an emergency contributor to its run game. Matt Waldman share his scouting report of this intriguing runner.
I published my outlook on the 49ers’ backfield for the rest of the season at Footballguys today. Patrick is not a huge part of that equation, but for the short-term, he could have value this week and generate a bigger opportunity if theirs a turn for the worse with this already beleagured 49ers’ backfield.
My No.10 back in the 2019 NFL Draft, here’s my scouting report of Patrick from the 2019 Rookie Scouting Portfolio:
Jacques Patrick, Florida State (6-3, 234)
Depth of Talent Score: 78.9 = Contributor: Starter execution in a limited role; diminishing returns
beyond that scope.
I’m a fan of this big, tough, and versatile team player. Patrick is a better runner than credited, because he
worked in the shadow of Cam Akers and before Akers, Dalvin Cook. He also played in the middle of a coaching transition at FSU.
Patrick is good at what one would expect from a back of his dimensions, which hasn’t always been the case in
recent years with big men. He generates movement in collisions with defensive linemen and linebackers. He can win direct collisions with all three levels of the defense.
When faced with bouncing a run outside or lowering the pads and taking on a defender at the line of scrimmage, Patrick will opt for the one-on-one, physical confrontation. Although he’s a tall runner, he will drop the pads and attack his opponents so he can hit and slide over top for extra yardage.
Box defenders that wrap Patrick will get taken for a ride around the block. Defenders in the secondary that hop aboard will need a passport.
Patrick can break multiple reaches, wraps, and hits during the course of a run. He is the best power back in
this class and few are talking about it. It’s probably because he earned criticism at some point during his
college career for not using his size to his advantage.
Patrick does a good job of splitting defenders and working through small creases with good pad level—
including defensive linemen. He’s nimble and powerful enough that he can cut downhill from an East-West path and still run through a linebacker.
Patrick has a capable stiff-arm that he can use to generate a push when meeting a defender head-on. When he loses his balance, he’s flexible enough to balance-touch to regain his footing.
Hip flexibility and footwork are the most underrated aspects of his game and it’s why he could surprise as a
productive runner. Patrick drops his weight and makes sharp down-hill cuts. Combined with facile displays of
stride variation to avoid penetration and redirect to a crease, Patrick is a nimble runner with tremendous
control of his feet.
When penetration reaches the exchange point, Patrick displays the refinement to point the toe and open his hips towards an escape without a jump cut. There are many NFL backs that don’t possess this awareness and skill. Patrick also runs with his knees high to keep his feet away from reaches for his ankles in the hole.
In 2016 and 2018, his burst showed up on tape, but not so much in 2017. Patrick tore cartilage in his knee in
2017 and only missed two games when he discovered there wasn’t any ligament damage. This could have been a contributing factor.
The positive exposures of Patrick’s burst reveal a back that can freeze linebackers with stop-start movement
and then sprint past them to the short corner and up the sideline. Patrick is not a burner, but he can read the line, stop fast, maintain good balance, find open space, and re-accelerate to reach the hole. This is strong work for any college prospect.
His footwork and functional quickness to execute small jump cuts, drop his weight into quick stops, and step over fallen bodies, makes him a capable runner from shotgun and pistol alignments. When he reaches the
edge on perimeter runs, he can cut downhill with 90-degree turns thanks to his flexible hips.
Patrick also has a nice lateral cut where he uses his free arm to swipe past a defender over top. When he first
began running from pistol, he pattered his feet to set up changes of direction and it limited his transition time
downhill. He was also late to make cutbacks on counter plays from the formation.
Patrick’s best fit is as a single back or behind a fullback in the I-formation. However, he improved his work from spread alignments and makes subtle and dynamic adjustments that lead to production.
Still, put Patrick in the I-formation, and he’s good at ISO, off-tackle, and inside zone plays. He squeezes through small creases and manipulates the defense with pacing and adjustments to his stride length to set up his lead blocker.
He has enough acceleration to extend a run nearly 70 yards when he breaks through a defense stacked at the
line of scrimmage. He can hold off pursuit for 40-45 yards.
Patrick is a mature runner. When cut off at the edge by penetration, he won’t try to outrun them. Instead, he’ll
take the mature route to stay up the middle, taking what he can get.
Patrick has the size and feet to become a blocker on the skill level of L.J. Scott, the best pass protector in this
class. He can slide inside-out to attack defensive ends working around the edge of the pocket and is quick
enough to force a wider path with his movement.
Patrick moves quickly enough across the pocket to square a linebacker blitzing from the edge. He extends
his hands to deliver a push and will try the uppercut punch with assignments up the middle.
The uppercut motion is there, but the roll of the hips is not. It can lead to him getting hit first rather than
delivering the first strike. He also drops his head too often into his blocks and overextends his frame.
His cut blocks earn good position across the opponent’s frame, but he can aim a little higher. He’s also a beat
slow with recognizing linemen twists and stunts.
Patrick is a reliable receiver and a good check-downoutlet. He catches the ball with his hands away from his
frame and tracks it well over his shoulder.
He baits defenders with slow movements to set up the screen and then snaps into a quick break for the target.
Patrick will make the catch with his back to an opponent and take contact while doing so.
His ball security needs improvement. He fumbled the ball 1 every 82 touches, squarely in the committee tier for runners. He uses the correct arm to keep the ball away from pursuit, but he lets the ball swing too loose at the elbow and away from the chest—especially after he’s hit the first time by a defender.
Although earning a five-star rating as a recruit is far from a guarantee of a productive pro career as a starter, it’s often a distinction that the player is an advanced athlete when he enters the college ranks. Patrick was a five-star recruit and Rivals’ and ESPN’s No.3 back in the 2015 class.
Big-time recruits sometimes earn the reputation as divas who don’t work. Patrick is known as a selfless teammate with an excellent work ethic. These types of players often stick to NFL rosters. With the skills he possesses, he has the kind of profile to emerge from draft anonymity as a Sunday contributor.
Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: Patrick will be available at the end of fantasy drafts and he’s a decent investment as a target for leagues with practice squads. Otherwise, monitor closely and be prepared to add him as a free agent if injuries create on opportunity sooner than expected.
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