The 26-year-old starred at Plant High School in Tampa before playing at Ball State University and for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams.
The attack happened around 5 a.m. Saturday and woke Patterson's roommate, who found an unidentified suspect lying on Patterson's back after shooting him, police told The Times.
Investigators said the roommate entered the living room and saw a stranger in the home.
The suspect fled the house. Tampa police officers arrived first and began lifesaving measures, but Patterson later died at a local hospital.
Police said the shooting does not appear to be random. Police are still investigating the incident and will send out an updated media alert when additional information regarding the victim or the overall investigation becomes available.
Patterson played for Ball State in college and signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2015.
A former National Football League defensive back, Eric Patterson, was found shot to death on Saturday in Tampa, Fl.
This story will be updated. He signed with the Colts in August 2015 and spent time on the active roster and the practice squad.
Patterson signed with the Cleveland Browns in May 2016 and was released the following September.
Patterson's former coach at Plant High School, Robert Weiner, shared his condolences in a Twitter post on Sunday writing in part, "Sad, heartbreaking time for our Plant Panthers Football family".
Los Angeles Rams superstar Todd Gurley, who entered the league in the same year as Patterson, similarly tweeted a tribute to his former teammate. We mourn his passing.