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Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson out to prove himself in front of NFL teams

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Indianapolis — Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the Heisman winner who led the Tigers to a national championship, and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa were among the big draws during the first day of media interviews at the NFL Combine.

Shea Patterson, Michigan’s starter the last two seasons, was there as well on Tuesday at the Indianapolis Convention Center. He didn’t seem to mind the media gathering participating in his podium session wasn’t all that big.

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 5,661 yards and had 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with the Wolverines, and ran for 323 yards on 163 carries with seven rushing touchdowns.

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound Patterson has played for three head coaches and four offensive coordinators during his college career that started at Ole Miss and finished at Michigan, the team he grew up watching and rooting for during his formative years in Toledo. He threw for 5,661 yards and had 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions with the Wolverines, and ran for 323 yards on 163 carries with seven rushing touchdowns.

Patterson came out of high school a hot-shot five-star recruit with plenty of hype and upside. But now he knows he has to make certain NFL teams understand the kind of quarterback and athlete he is and can become. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper said last week he believes Patterson could be a late selection or a priority free agent.

He plans to “come in hungry with a chip on my shoulder” for whatever team selects him.

“I’m probably not one of the most sought-after guys in this draft quarterback-wise,” Patterson said Tuesday, “but I’m looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong.”

More: Lions' Matt Patricia says Tua Tagovailoa has 'dynamic playmaking ability'

More: A closer look at the 11 Michigan players at the NFL Combine

Some could complain about playing for four coordinators, but Patterson likes to think of it as proof he can learn and adapt quickly. As he sees it, this is an advantage other quarterbacks don’t have.

All things considered, does he think he should be one of the top-rated, sought-after quarterbacks of this draft?

“Top rated? I don’t get the whole ratings things, but I feel like I’m one of the most talented quarterbacks in this draft, if not the most talented quarterback of the draft,” Patterson said. “I believe in my ability, and I’m just looking forward for a team to believe in myself, as well.”

Patterson is motivated to show anyone and everyone just how motivated he is.

“I’ve had a chip on my shoulder pretty much my entire career up to this point, but I think right now it’s as big as it’s ever been,” he said.

Quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers work out at Lucas Oil Stadium for NFL scouts on Thursday. Patterson, who worked out at IMG Academy with Ben Neill and David Morris from QB Country and Mo Wells, the speed training coach from IMG, plans to participate in every drill at the combine, but won’t do the bench press. He also will participate next month in Pro Day at Michigan.

Sean McKeon, the former Michigan tight end also at the combine, said Patterson will surprise scouts with his speed and anticipates a strong 40 time.

“He’s kind of a sneaky athletic guy,” McKeon said. “If you look at him, you don’t expect him to be fast, but I think he’s a little bit faster than a lot of people think. He’s really quick, and I think he’s going to run a good 40 time.”

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson played for the North squad in last month's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

McKeon is more than aware of the criticism Patterson faced at Michigan, and now as he readies for the NFL Draft. He’s also confident his former teammate will make it at the next level.

“He’s just got that determination, that kind of toughness and grit in him,” McKeon said. “I think that makes him the player he is. I know he’s going to work hard to overcome any obstacle in his way, and it’s just always what he’s done. He’ll continue to do that at the next level for sure.”

It is possible all of this could have been delayed a year for Patterson, who said Tuesday he would gladly have played another year with the Wolverines. Patterson played his final three games as a freshman at Ole Miss and burned his redshirt, but with the new rules allowing players to play in four games, there would have been an opportunity to appeal the process.

“I wasn’t ready,” Patterson said when he was asked whether he was ready to move on from Michigan. “I loved playing at Michigan and I would have loved to be sure about another year to play with those guys and my teammates and the coaching staff.”

But that was a risk, and while he would have enjoyed a second season in offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ system, the timing was off. If the NCAA did not grant the extra year, he would have been out of luck.

“I knew it was on the table, but I couldn’t find out until early February or maybe late February if I’d get the fifth year,” Patterson said. “That’s a big risk. I would have had to pass up the Senior Bowl and two months of training and if I didn’t get that I’d be stuck in no-man’s land. I enjoyed the heck out of my time at Michigan. Met so many great people. Playing in the Big House is like no other. It was a dream as a kid. I took full advantage of my time there.

“I’ve been through a lot in college and I’m ready to take the next step.”

The next step began at the Senior Bowl, where Patterson said he enjoyed working Lions coach Matt Patricia and his staff. And it’s taking an even bigger step here at the combine. Patterson said he’s in the best shape of his life and ready for the drills.

He also has worked to hone his game the last two months, especially consistency with his mechanics.

“Fixing my over-stride,” Patterson said. “Whenever I over-stride that leads to inaccuracy for me, so just getting that front foot down faster, controlling my momentum in the back of the drop, not getting too much weight on the back foot. That way when you’re on your back foot, you lunge forward and that creates the over stride. Just saying consistent with mechanics.”

Patterson will have an opportunity Thursday to show scouts how much he has improved.

“Just looking forward to going out there and competing,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to running and competing well. I’ve worked my butt off for the past month and a half. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, so I’m looking forward to those times. I’m ready to get out there to throw with the best of the best.”

Twitter: @chengelis