With a name like Natrez Patrick, there is no choice but to be a great football player. Obviously teams like Clemson, Florida State, and Texas aren’t just recruiting the defensive end from Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia because of his name. Patrick can get after it on the field and has a ton of potential.
It’s obvious what Patrick’s greatest strength is as an edge player: he is very fast. He really shows good speed and agility when rushing the passer or chasing down ball carriers.
It’s tough to judge his strength right now because he is able to use his speed to beat offensive tackles at the high school level. It’s obviously something he will need to improve though because if he is still sticking his hand in the dirt he’ll be undersized going against offensive tackles.
Because of his speed, I was pleasantly surprised to see Patrick use his hands to counter when rushing the passer. Right now his technique is unrefined and it’s often his athleticism that helps him win his matchups.
He does show the ability to bend when he gets the edge, but I’d like to see him attack the outside shoulder more as too often he’s stuck on the full man forcing him to jump back outside to regain his advantage. When he anticipates the snap and explodes with his first step, he is going to be very tough to block.
Versus the run, he’s a great pursuit player. He’s a solid tackler who will hit through his opponent. He’ll need to get bigger to be an effective run player at the point of attack. I saw him catch a pulling guard rather than take it on to blow up the play. That is something that will need to be corrected. He has put on weight between the end of his junior season to now so he should be able to improve quite a bit at the point of attack.
Based on his body type, his best fit may be as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and not a traditional defensive end in a 40 front. Can he drop and cover? I think he’s a good enough athlete to do so, but only time will tell if/when he’s asked to do that.
The weight he has put on though suggests that he may be able to stick his hand in the dirt and play there on a regular basis.
I definitely like his potential to be someone who contributes as an edge rusher once he spends some time in a proper strength program and puts on enough weight to hold up. I think his ceiling is close to what Dee Ford was for Auburn if he refines his pass rush technique and gets stronger.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He has also coached at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach). Jamie is also the former Sr. Editor, Digital Content and News for theScore.com.