The Los Angeles Chargers still have one game remaining on the preseason slate but for wide receiver Andre Patton, his fate should already be decided.
The fourth preseason game is reserved for those players either fighting for a roster spot, putting their best effort on film for another team or getting one final taste of professional football before they move onto a new career.
Patton will likely be in uniform and competing under one of those roles, but he shouldn’t have to.
The Chargers have three wide receivers who will presumably be in street clothes this Thursday night, meaning a spot on the roster is a sure thing. Those players are Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. Trading for Dontrelle Inman meant the team had a fourth wide receiver, but the Chargers will almost certainly keep at least five.
Whether there are one or two slots up for grabs, it figures to be Patton competing with Geremy Davis and Artavis Scott for them. Patton should be ahead of them on the depth chart in what should be an easy decision.
Many will argue that Davis’ ability to play special teams gives him a leg up in the competition. Kassim Osgood was possibly the greatest special teams player the Chargers ever had, he was selected to three Pro Bowls with the team. But did he ever really do anything to change the complexion of a game?
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He had a grand total of 33 receptions with the team.
Davis is a similar player. Sure, he’s a good special teams guy but at his natural position of wide receiver, he’s average at best and Patton seems to be a rising star.
Patton recently turned 25 years old and he has turned in a solid preseason. Scott has had more receptions this preseason but Patton has found the end zone twice in three games. He is turning into a big target in the red zone and that is something the Chargers, particularly with Philip Rivers have long coveted.
If there is a sixth spot to be had, let Scott duke it out with Davis. But Patton should have the fifth spot in the bag. He’s worked his way up the ladder from the bottom, having spent the past two seasons on the team’s practice squad.
He has earned a spot on the 53-man roster and he deserves that spot.