Dimitri Patterson may not have a flashy resume or a big name – but the slender cornerback certainly talks a big game.
“I'll put my film (up against) anybody’s,” he said after Wednesday’s OTA session.
Listed at 6-0 (though he appears shorter in person), Patterson has taken quite a circuitous road to get to Florham Park. Before signing as a free-agent earlier this offseason, he spent time with the Redskins, Vikings, Chiefs, Eagles, Browns and Dolphins since going undrafted in 2005. He appeared in just six games for Miami in 2013 before being placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. In those six games, he recorded four interceptions, six passes defended, 19 tackles and a sack.
But Patterson – who was brought in as a replacement for Antonio Cromartie – denied that he’s injury-prone.
“The reality is, that's the only thing they can find negative to say about me,” he said, referring to his recent injuries the past two seasons. “When you look at my career, I've been in [the league] nine years -- the last two years I had an ankle and I had a groin. My first six, seven years, I had no injuries.”
Though he’ll turn 31 in two weeks, Patterson believes he hasn’t lost a step. And the proof, he said, is on tape.
“I've been asked to do what Cromartie was asked to do,” said the corner, who played in only eight games for the Dolphins the past two seasons due to ankle and groin injuries. Still, he managed to record four interceptions in just six games in 2013. “Do I have a high profile? No. Do I have the biggest name? No. But I've covered the same receivers, and I've held up extremely well against the same receivers, the elite guys.”
Though Patterson talks a good game, it’s still unclear just how well he’ll perform on game day. At this stage of the offseason, teams are limited in what they can do on the practice field.
“I think with Dimitri it’s kind of tough. Sometimes with the way the rules are, you're not allowed to press, so it's a challenge,” said Rex Ryan. “…He’s done well. I think he’s on top of his assignments. He’s been pretty impressive.”
Patterson is as confident in his ability as he is in the Jets secondary as a whole. But he admitted it’s too soon to tell just how strong the unit will be.
“Do I think we have guys to go out here and be extremely competitive? No doubt about it,” he said. “But we don’t truly know that until you get under the lights.”