This won’t be the last time you hear this comparison, because it will likely be a common one when NFL Draft season really heats up: Jalen Hurd could be the next Cordarrelle Patterson.
The comparison is a deep one, as Patterson’s current listed size is 6’2 and 228 pounds, compared to Hurd’s 6’4 and 229 pounds. Patterson’s lone collegiate season at the FBS level came at Tennessee, the school where Hurd played for three years before a transfer to Baylor.
On top of all of that, they both have similar skills as receivers and runners, with the ability to play running back in a pinch.
Hurd’s story is well-documented, as a former highly ranked recruit who once started at running back over Alvin Kamara at Tennessee. With a tantalizing combination of size and athleticism, Hurd was seemingly destined for the pro ranks. However, he would be worn down playing running back for the Volunteers, and transferred to Baylor to play wide receiver.
Playing a position that was easier on the body, Hurd showed a lot of flashes at the position this season. Naturally transitioning, Hurd’s ability in space allowed him to pick up yards after the catch. His length gave him potential in the redzone with elite body control in space.
Hurd’s career will come full circle, as he’s accepted an invitation to compete at the Senior Bowl. This will be a prime opportunity to show more refinement and development at the position against some of the best competition.
Patterson’s lone season at Tennessee showed similar flashes to the raw talent that Hurd has produced on tape, with a rare skillset that got him drafted late in the first round. He finished that season with 46 receptions and 25 rushes for over 1,000 total yards. His versatility has come to light this season in New England, as he's been seen as the primary running back for multiple games.
Just look at the ability that Patterson possessed in space:
While at Tennessee, Hurd showed nearly identical flashes:
Interestingly enough, the similarities don't stop at their elusiveness in space. Patterson had raw qualities as a receiver while in college, but would occasionally put everything together and show ability above the rim:
Hurd has showed this ability in the redzone, as his length and natural tracking have translated seamlessly to the receiver position while at Baylor:
While at running back, Patterson was used in college to get on the edge, a quality that has been used this season in New England as well:
While used sparingly at running back at Baylor, Hurd's experience at the position gives him a similar dynamic outside of the box:
Something that has always stood out when it comes to Patterson is how he transitions from receiver to runner upon catching the ball. While not the most refined route runner, when he's able to separate, that transition is lethal for picking up yards after the catch:
Hurd has a nearly identical ability, due to his tracking and natural hands despite a lack of experience at the position:
While Cordarrelle Patterson likely hasn't lived up to the hype of a first round selection, he has been a usable player in the league for years. Now in the Patriots offense, his Swiss army knife versatility has been on display this season, even if his receiving numbers haven't exploded like some thought it might.
Hurd plays at a similar level to Patterson, and he could solidify his draft stock with a solid showing at the Senior Bowl. His intriguing potential will be a story line to follow in Mobile.