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Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson Set for 'Versatile' Role?

The Atlanta Falcons have a swiss-army knife at running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who can be used in and out of the backfield.

How will the Atlanta Falcons utilize Cordarrelle Patterson in 2023? 

Arthur Smith and offensive coordinator Dave Ragone have a few weeks to start thinking about that as the Falcons are on "summer break" until late July when they report back for training camp. 

Following the selection of Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, many have already listed the veteran Patterson as a potential trade candidate. Yet, with the versatility of the 32-year-old, it seems the Falcons could still find ways to deploy him instead of being a traditional running back. 

Patterson's role in the Falcons' offense last season was very different from the one he had in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, Patterson took just 78 snaps at receiver last season compared to 177 the year prior.

Speaking with the recently, Patterson acknowledged this stark contrast in his usage, and he even admitted that he liked his 2021 role more.

"Last year, I was more of a running back. We had injuries there so I had to step up. But, in 2021 we had running backs and receivers so they moved me around to a lot of places. It felt good to be used that much."

It isn't surprising that a player like Patterson would like to be on the field more, but as he said, the Falcons needed him more in the backfield than everywhere else. But after the selection of Robinson, who will be the top back with Tyler Allgeier behind him, it will allow Patterson to get more reps elsewhere.

"CP has done a lot of jobs.," Smith said of Patterson's role. "You saw that his role in 2021 was a very different story than what he did in 2022. I don't want to get too specific in it – that will play itself out – but I'm excited CP is still here. He looks good. It's a good problem to have with guys who are versatile."

Versatility is exactly what Patterson brings to the table for Atlanta, and as a former receiver, it is difficult to imagine that the Falcons don't use him more out wide. 

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