Malcom Floyd and Tyrell Williams are two of the most productive wide receivers the Chargers have had over the past two decades.
Believe it or not, each of them spent significant time on the team's practice squad before breaking out.
Andre Patton is determined to follow in their footsteps. After all, he's been preparing for it for nearly two calendar years.
One of the most discussed storylines of the offseason was the need for someone to step up behind Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin on the depth chart.
There's been plenty of talk surrounding Artavis Scott, Geremy Davis, Dylan Cantrell and so on. However, teammates and coaches alike have also praised Patton, who they say has developed nicely the past two seasons on the practice squad.
"Andre Patton is stepping up," Head Coach Anthony Lynn offered up unsolicited during a minicamp interview with NFL Network.
So, who exactly is Andre Patton?
Well, he's a big, physical target who signed with the Bolts as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2017. He appeared in 44 career games for the Scarlet Knights, totaling 90 catches for 1,164 yards and 10 TDs.
Patton flashed enough during his first summer in L.A. to earn a spot on the practice squad. He did the same again in 2018, appearing in all four preseason games and catching nine passes for 75 yards and one touchdown.
Now, after spending two years with the Chargers refining his skills, he feels best prepared to make the leap to the active roster. He's bided his time, taking the long view even though it killed him inside not to be active on game day.
As he puts it, it's all led up to this moment.
"I'm very excited," he said. "Someone in my position, you just have to have patience, and now I'm prepared (for the bigger role). I respected the players that were in front of me, and I took everything in day in and day out. Take everything in in practices, the film room and outside football. You've just got to take it all in and appreciate it."
Patton backs up his assertion he "took everything day in and day out" by then explaining how he added aspects from each teammate into his game.
So, what did he take from Keenan Allen?
"The craft to his game," he said. "His route running. His brain. Just how he sees coverages and things like that."
How about Mike Williams?
"His ability to go up and get the ball as a big man. How he goes about that with his (technique)."
"Travis is a speed guy (and is a) different type of receiver (that I am). But I've learned a lot from his wisdom. What he's learned and how he (applies it). It's helped prepare me."
There's that word again – prepared.
While Patton knows his game has improved, he also knows there are plenty of talented teammates also aiming to lock down spots on the depth chart.
However, there's a reason he keeps saying how "prepared" he is. That's because while he's always had the talent, it takes time to learn the nuances that truly allow players to maximize their skillset.
"I feel like I've always had the ability, but it was more a mental game," he said. "Learning the playbook (but also) just having that dog mindset. That's going out there every play with the defender out there and just knowing you're going to kill him every time. That's a dog mindset. I bring the energy and I bring the playmaking (ability). I'm a dog. I'm versatile. I can play special teams, too. And I use my height, especially on jump balls. Even with my stride length it helps me get out there (to blow past) defenders. So yeah, I'm ready (for a bigger role)."
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