What is a prototype?
- An original type, form, or instance serving as a basis or standard for later stages.
- An original, full-scale, and usually working model of a new product or new version of an existing product.
- An early, typical example.
- Biology A form or species that serves as an original type or example.
As we headed up to the 2011 NFL Draft, some experts were saying that Patrick Peterson was too big to play the cornerback position at a high level in the NFL. These analysts made the mistake of judging Peterson on the same level as every other corner that came before him.
I dubbed Peterson as “The Prototype” after studying tape after tape on the prospect. While some feared that he would only add more size to his 6’1, 220 pound frame and that he may be better suited for a switch to safety, I felt that he hadn’t shown any signs of restriction due to his size.
When watching Peterson at LSU, I got the feeling that we were watching the future of the cornerback position. It’s rare to find an athlete over 6’0 that plays as fast and as agile as Peterson does. Then, you realize that he’s physical enough to battle the 6’4 Brandon Marshall type and fluid enough to get his hips over in coverage versus the shifty Steve Smith speedsters. Watching Patrick in coverage is impressive enough, but he takes it a step further by displaying ball skills and even Pro Bowl caliber return abilities.
The evolution that Mike Vick started at the quarterback position can now be seen in the likes of Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and even Andrew Luck. Yes, even Luck. Today’s young signal callers, like Cam who is known for his mobility, are still pocket passers. When Vick entered the NFL, it was like nothing we had ever seen before. We couldn’t have imagined then that over the next ten years there would be elementary school kids imitating Vick’s unique style and meshing it with top notch pocket passing abilities. That’s exactly what happened though.
Vick’s footprint on the current era of NFL quarterbacks is clearly visible. The same will be said about Peterson. The cornerback position is the toughest position to play on the defensive side of the ball. The NFL has turned into a pass heavy league. The rules are slanted in favor of the receivers. Teams will start to invest more money in finding players that fit the mold of “The Prototype”. We are currently watching the beginning of an era and the highlights of the jaw-dropping plays that Peterson displayed in 2011. That is just the tip of what he and the position will become.