Patterson finds himself buried on the depth chart in Atlanta behind No. 8 overall pick Bijan Robinson and second-year back Tyler Allgeier, who cracked the 1,000-yard mark a year ago. The Falcons gave him the role of “J” on their opening day depth chart — which may mean joker, per hints from Patterson.
Patterson is a converted wide receiver, so it’s likely a nod to his versatility. However, he has found his lane as a running back in Atlanta, becoming a significant part of the Falcons’ offense. He notched a career-high 695 yards and eight touchdowns last season on 144 attempts, also hauling in 21 passes for 122 yards.
With very little proven depth behind Nick Chubb, the Browns are in need of a veteran with pass-catching ability, which makes Patterson a good fit for Cleveland, per Bleacher Report.
“Patterson is suddenly No. 3 on a talented depth chart. Greater opportunity could be found on the Cleveland Browns, and the AFC North team is thin at the position after star Nick Chubb,” Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon wrote on September 5. “Entering the season, Cleveland is only carrying second-year players Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong Jr. as reserves. Patterson would provide a bit more versatility to the backfield, which the Browns seemingly lack after not re-signing Kareem Hunt.”
Browns Have Expressed Confidence in Jerome Ford
The Browns have playoff and Super Bowl aspriations, so making a move for someone like Patterson makes sense. They’ve already made some solid trades for pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith and wide receiver Elijah Moore, bolstering two positions of need.
However, the Browns have sounded confident in Ford and what he could bring to the table as the primary backup to Chubb who can play a role on third downs.
“Jerome’s got a skillset that allows him to do anything and everything,” run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell said after mandatory minicamp in June. “Pass protection, we worked a lot (on that) this spring, so that was the really the only thing we didn’t really have a good handle on because he didn’t do it a lot in college.”
Ford dealt with a hip injury during training camp, missing almost the entirety of the preseason. However, he feels ready to handle any role the team has in store for him.
“I don’t know the role yet, but whatever role I’m given, I’m ready to do,” Ford said on August 31. “Coach been preparing all of us for everything. Whether Nick’s helmet come off or something or he will need a shoe tied on the sideline, we’ll be ready for whatever the situation is.”
Nick Chubb Will Be Workhorse Back for Browns
Depth is always nice, but the Browns have one of the most reliable backs in the NFL in Chubb. He rushed for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. It was his fourth consecutive season rushing for over 1,000 yards and his career 5.2 per carry average is among the league’s elite.
The Browns are expected to be more pass-heavy than in years past, which may not necessarily mean fewer touches for Chubb. Instead, he’ll be more involved as a pass-catcher, something he’s looking forward to.
“Last year I was just mostly (playing) first, second downs, so I kind of gave them an idea of what we’re going to do,” Chubb said, referring to opposing defenses, according to an August 22 story by Browns Zone’s Scott Petrak. “But hopefully this year will be different with me doing more things.”
Chubb and the Browns open up their season on September 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals.