After coming up small in the biggest game of the season, here is why returning to Michigan football would help the draft stock of Shea Patterson.
Of course, Haskins had eye-popping numbers that Patterson didn’t have. However, Patterson, working in more of a run-based offense, was efficient and had shown tremendous accuracy, as well as an ability to consistently complete throws down the field.
All in all, it looked like an even matchup. In the end, though, it wasn’t. Haskins and the Buckeyes destroyed Michigan football that day, 62-39 and in the process, Haskins threw six touchdown passes against the nation’s No. 1 defense. He also completed 20-of-31 passes for 396 yards and averaged 12.8 yards per attempt.
After that performance, Haskins would be stupid not to enter the NFL draft next season. If he does, he will certainly be a top-10 pick. Yet, in the case of Patterson, who is reportedly still weighing his decision, I don’t believe that to be the case.
In the same game, with the country and plenty of NFL scouts watching, Patterson didn’t look like he measured up to the moment. Against a defense that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in passing yards allowed, Patterson completed 20-of-34 passes for 187 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Patterson made some plays sure, but he also missed a lot of throws at key times. On the second and third drives of the game, Michigan football moved into Ohio State’s red zone and both times, the Wolverines settled for field goals. Early in the second half, Patterson had tight end Zach Gentry wide open in the seam and underthrew him, leading to a punt, which was a common theme for the Wolverines. He also threw a terrible interception that helped seal UM’s fate.
When the game was on the line in the first half, Patterson struggled to ignite the Michigan offense. He isn’t the only one who didn’t play well that day, but great quarterbacks are supposed to make the guys around them better and on that day, it was Haskins, not Patterson who did that.
Leading up to that game, there were rumors that Patterson would leave for the NFL draft. I figured if he beat Ohio State, direction Michigan football to the Big Ten championship and the College Football Playoff that his stock would soar. Then, I could see him getting picked late in the first round.
Now though, he looks like a sure-fire Day 2 pick in the NFL draft and I am not sure that is even a sure thing. He does have good accuracy and good mobility. He ran a pro-style offense and will get credit for being NFL-ready after working with Jim Harbaugh.
But did he look like one of the best quarterbacks in the country? At times this season he did, however, I am not sure that will be enough to risk going out early.
If Patterson came back next year and took another step up in his game, he could wind up as a first-round pick. But if he goes after the debacle at Ohio State, it’s really hard to see going any earlier than round two or three, unless he uses the bowl game to repair his image, because right now, it’s hard to see how he would be trending in the right direction after his last on-field performance.