Pro Football Focus named Notre Dame offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson as one of the nation's best returning interior blockers. The Irish lost four starters from its 2020 offensive line, which was arguably the nation's best prior to Patterson's late season injury, but the return of the California native gives the Irish a great foundation to build around.
The list is made up of guards and centers. Here is why PFF ranked Patterson as its fourth-best returning interior player:
"Notre Dame saw four of its five starters from last year’s unit depart for the NFL. The good news is that the team's lone returner, Jarrett Patterson, is one of the best interior offensive linemen in college football — that is, if he doesn’t kick out to tackle for 2021, which is a real possibility. But we still have no idea, so we're riding with him on the interior list.
"Patterson made his debut as the starting center in 2019 and performed exceptionally well. He ranked 11th among Power Five centers in PFF grade and didn’t allow multiple pressures in any of his 13 starts. He was even better in 2020, ranking sixth among Power Five centers in PFF grade. Patterson’s improvement primarily came in the run game, where he ranked eighth in positively graded block rate among. He’s also one of two returning Power Five interior offensive linemen to log at least 650 pass-block snaps without surrendering a sack in their college career.
"Regardless of where Patterson plays in 2021, he’s going to anchor the Irish’s line."
Patterson started 21 straight games at center for Notre Dame, and he thrived at that position almost immediately. His game was really starting to take off prior to his injury against Boston College, and he enters the 2021 as Notre Dame's clear leader up front.
I fully expect Patterson to be a captain for the Fighting Irish in 2021, although we don't yet know for certain where he will play. Right now the plan is to slide Patterson over to right guard, but fall camp could certainly shake things up and result in Patterson either slide to left guard or possibly kicking out to tackle.
No one from Notre Dame's 2021 schedule had an interior blocker listed by PFF.
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