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Mike Patterson DT USC 6’ 290
By: Robert Davis

Mike Patterson has been a part of arguably the best defensive line in college football the past two seasons at USC. Last year as a junior, Patterson totaled 55 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 7 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries. The 13.5 tackles for loss were the most by a USC defensive lineman since Darrell Russell in 1996, and Russell went on to be the 2nd overall pick in the draft. His sophomore season, Patterson notched 37 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 4 fumble recoveries. Patterson has a defensive touchdown in each of those seasons. His 3 year totals at USC are 101 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, and 9 fumble recoveries.

Patterson has amazing quickness off the line. There isn’t a defensive lineman in college football that explodes off the line the way Patterson does. Patterson’s game is penetration. He routinely slips through the offensive line to put pressure on the QB or to disrupt the running play. Patterson has the agility and quickness to stunt well, and move laterally along the line. Patterson was a high school wrestler, and it helped him learn how important leverage is. He can get up under you before you have a chance to block him. He displays the toughness and killer attitude on the field that all the great ones have. Off it, he is the exact opposite, but he still maintains the work ethic to improve his game.

The biggest weakness with Patterson is his lack of height. At barely 6’ tall, he is short for a defensive lineman. If he doesn’t beat you off the snap, he can be taken out of plays. While he is strong and battles, he simply isn’t big enough to be a major force against the run.

Mike Patterson goes by the nickname “Baby Sapp,” and it definitely fits. That’s who his game most resembles. He has a great first step, and is a quality playmaker at defensive tackle, but he can be taken out of run plays at times. If Patterson were 6’3, he would be a Top 10 pick no doubt. As it is, he could hear his name called in the 2nd round somewhere, and I believe that in the right system, he will make a very good defensive tackle.

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