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2020 NFL Draft profile: Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson

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Patterson never quite lived up to his five-star billing, but has backup quarterback upside.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Shea Patterson was a former five-star recruit and a signal-caller that was set to take the Michigan Wolverines to the next level after transferring from Ole Miss for his final two seasons of eligibility. He never quite lived up to that, but still was fairly efficient and an upgrade at the quarterback position for Jim Harbaugh compared to what came before him.

Here is Patterson’s background and what he brings to the table as a prospect heading into the draft.


Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 212 pounds

School: Michigan

Position: Quarterback

Projected: 7th round/UDFA

Combine Results: 4.71 40-yard dash | 31 inch vertical jump | 116 inch broad jump | 7.14 cone drill | 4.5 20-yard shuffle

Player Comparison: Nick Mullens


  • Athleticism at the quarterback position is impressive and his pocket mobility is his biggest strength... Some of his best plays at Michigan came when he was throwing on the run
  • He throws a mostly good and catchable football... release is fairly quick and snappy
  • Probably at his best as a play action/RPO passer... sells the run fake well and it opens up wider passing windows for him to put the ball into.
  • Rhythm passer that needs a few easy throws to get going... it has a visible impact on his confidence.
  • Has displayed a decent ability to play off schedule and is a good improviser... uses his legs to extend plays
  • There is a moxie to his game and he typically played with high energy and was a tough player.


  • The first thing every Michigan fan would tell you here is the deep ball. Often times, throws down the field were not on point and there were a fair amount of yards/points left on the field in his time at Michigan.
  • Ball security is a concern...had a fumbling problem early on in his senior season.
  • Average arm strength and poor mechanics affect his accuracy and ability to throw into tight windows. He’s going to need some more work there
  • Happy feet in the pocket when pressured, which leads to him rushing his throws and panicking, affecting his accuracy
  • Sometimes it seems as if he does not see pre-snap movements from the defense that might telegraph where pressure is coming from. Ability to work through progressions leaves a bit to be desired.
  • Mistakes tend to snowball, as he seeks to compensate for lost plays by trying to make up for it on the next play


Patterson came into college as a highly-touted prospect and while he did not exactly live up to his five-star status, objective viewers of his game would tell you that he wound up being a solid-to-good college quarterback. He was not awful, nor was he tremendous. Despite what Michigan fans might tell you, Patterson leaves Ann Arbor as arguably the best quarterback that Jim Harbaugh has had, even if the results were a bit underwhelming compared to the hype. He played well down the stretch this season in Josh Gattis’ west-coast, run-based offense and it seems like that might be his best fit in the NFL. Patience from both the coaching staff he winds up working with, as well as himself, might allow him to unlock some potential that may have been left on the table in college. There are tools and intangibles here. If he is able to clean up some of the mechanical flaws in his game, there’s a chance he could wind up being a Case Keenum-type, but it looks more likely for now that he is a player that winds up fighting for a spot throughout his career and potentially having a few cups of coffee on the 53-man roster.