The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: Jacques Patrick Deserved More Touches in 2018

Mitch White/FSU athletics

Now that the NFL Draft is over, Florida State fans patiently await the news of undrafted free agent signings to trickle in.

It sounds like an insult, but it’s the simple truth when a team goes 5-7 and players from the old regime are given a raw deal by the coaches who recruited them. There will be plenty of questions about potential vs. results and whether or not the players really lived up to their expectations at FSU.

So far, most of the undrafted free agent prospects from FSU have been scooped up. Nyqwan Murray, Derrick Kelly, Wally Aime, and even Fred Jones have all found a home (at least temporarily). One of the more shocking delays happens to be with running back Jacques Patrick.

It isn’t surprising that he didn’t get drafted. It is surprising that apparently no team has signed him as a free agent. There is still plenty of time for that to happen, but it’s discouraging that someone with his heart and raw talent is left wondering if their dream will ever come true.

There are plenty of reasons that Patrick didn’t hear his name called. Arguably the biggest one (which will be the focus of this take) happens to be with his production.

2017 was when Patrick really started playing like the athlete everyone knew he was. Instead of shying from contact, he embraced it. Instead of trying to evade his way past defenders, he made it his job to run through them. Mixed in with some surprising burst at the line, Patrick seemed like he would be on his way to a split role duty with Cam Akers. They both averaged over five yards per carry and recorded seven rushing touchdowns.

Then 2018 happened. There is basically nothing that any running back could have done to have a “good” year. It just wasn’t happening with the offensive line that FSU trotted out each week. Akers and Patrick were tasked with trying to make a pie out of old bread and jello. Not surprisingly, both had forgettable years.

But one thought that crossed the mind with regularity in 2018 was how the carries were split. Akers was the obvious primary ball-carrier, with Patrick being right behind him. There was nothing wrong with that set up to begin the year.

Questioning the strategy came further on. Once Florida State knew what it had on the offensive line, it became clear that Akers wasn’t comfortable. No running back could be.

But rather than leaning on a veteran player who could churn for extra yardage and be more patient with the line, the Seminoles opted to trust that Akers could spark a few big scoring plays. He did succeed occasionally. In the grand scheme of things however, it didn’t make much a difference. If rumors about being banged up are true, then it’s also a conclusion that the staff put more mileage on a guy that they will need to bounce back for the 2019 season.

Admittedly, much of this is hindsight. The staff cannot give up midway through the season and tell a locker room that they’re already looking to 2019. Yet, it’s also reasonable to think they could have started shifting the load towards guys who knew how to handle it, who were also seeking an NFL future. Perhaps it wouldn’t change their professional career outlook — but maybe it could have changed the mentality of certain players who were questioning what the staff was truly rewarding with their decisions.

Giving Patrick more touches is not the secret ingredient to having a successful rushing attack. Instead, it could have allowed them to provide a mutually beneficial game plan for everyone involved: More touches for Patrick, less touches for the younger players, and an assurance that next year could be a clean slate.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply