Dezmon Patmon spent his last two seasons at Washington State proving he was more than a big body and then padded that assertion, leading the Cougars in receiving yards as a junior and turning in more impressive stats as a senior.
Now, the towering WSU wideout will have a chance to do the same at the next level.
On the heels of three productive seasons at WSU’s “Z” wide receiver spot, Patmon was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round with the 212th overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft.
He becomes the first WSU receiver to be drafted since 2015, when Vince Mayle went to the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round.
Patmon was watching the draft from home in San Diego with family members when he was selected and a video posted from the Colts’ Twitter account shows the 6-foot-4, 225-pound receiver dunking his mother Amanda into a swimming pool.
While Patmon wasn’t listed on most mock draft boards and wasn’t considered to be one of the top-10 available wide receivers when he was chosen, the big, imposing outside target was an enticing choice for teams looking to beef up their wide receiver corps.
“I thought this young man could really get after it on the outside-the-numbers routes downfield,” ESPN’s Louis Riddick said on the live NFL draft broadcast. “He’s a big target, has good high-point skills, has breakaway speed once he’s able to get behind the secondary.
“He’s a red-zone threat, well put together, great young individual, very humble, hard-working guy.”
The Colts had three consecutive picks near the end of the sixth round, choosing Patmon after they selected UMass cornerback Isaiah Rodgers with the 211th pick and before grabbing Michigan linebacker Jordan Glasgow with the 213th.
In Indianapolis, Patmon will play with former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, whom the Colts signed to a one-year, $25 million deal last month during free agency. That presents a unique opportunity for the San Diego native, who grew up within walking distance of Qualcomm Stadium, where Rivers spent the majority of his 15 seasons with the Chargers.
“It’s like maybe 5, 10 minutes from my house,” Patmon told The Spokesman-Review in a phone interview earlier this week.
The Colts clearly wanted to add depth at wide receiver, but the club’s draft picks also reflect a desire to get bigger at this position. Along with Patmon, Indianapolis drafted big USC receiver Michael Pittman, a 6-4, 223-pound target who caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns playing in the Trojans’ Air Raid last season.
In three seasons at WSU – two of which were spent as a starter – Patmon hauled in 156 passes for 1,976 yards and 13 touchdowns. That included 61 catches for a team-high 816 yards during Patmon’s breakout junior season.
Patmon was named after former Michigan receiver Desmond Howard, in part because his uncle DeWayne Patmon played linebacker for Michigan before spending one season with the New York Giants in 2000-01.
“As a little kid playing football, that’s everyone’s dream, that’s the most cliché thing, ‘I want to play in the NFL,’ ” Patmon said. “But for me, it was the same thing, growing up and playing football in Pop Warner, I just want to play in the NFL and grow up to be a professional athlete.”
At the scouting combine, Patmon ran 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash and spent time working on his releases with former NFL receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh while training with EXOS in San Diego prior to the draft.
He’ll have the size and strength to match up against most NFL defensive backs, but Patmon will need to display consistency and separation while adjusting to an offensive style that varies from the one he was accustomed to in college.
In addition to Pittman, Indianapolis has 11 other wide receivers on its roster, including T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell, Rodney Adams, Ashton Dulin, Daurice Fountain, Malik Henry, Steve Ishmael, Marcus Johnson, Aravis Scott and Chad Williams.
Lance Zierlein wrote Patmon’s NFL draft profile, describing him as a “big pass-catcher with intriguing size but lacking the assertiveness to impose his will. Patmon suffers from an overall lack of suddenness to uncover on both the first and second levels, and issues with focus drops is an additional concern since he’ll see plenty of contested catches.
“He has decent buildup speed, body control and ball skills to compete for 50/50 balls, but he doesn’t always play with ‘my-ball’ attitude. He’s big but limited and must play with better confidence and toughness to carve out a roster spot.”
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