Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Tigers
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
Peterson is the unanimous #1 Cornerback in this year's draft. With NFL offenses going in the direction of the bigger, more physical receivers, ie Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, etc., NFL defenses are looking for those rare corners that have the speed, height, and physical ability to play with these elite athletes. Patrick belongs to the rare breed that possesses these intangibles. In the SEC he battled against A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery and Greg Childs, just to name a few receivers that fit the mold of the future of the NFL receiver.
There are some corners that are blessed with the size of Peterson, but they don't use it to their advantage as Peterson does. Patrick goes up and gets the ball at its highest point. He's one of the few corners that can read the quarterback by looking into the backfield, without getting burnt and also read the receiver's eyes and react off of it. He has impressive closing speed for a corner of his size. He'll use this to make quarterbacks pay at the next level on those 15 and outs or any pass that they don't get max velocity on. He reminds me of a bigger, more physical Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He'll use his bulk to wrestle away jump balls and won't be intimidated by the bigger receivers in bump coverage.
Peterson is a big play guy. He's always looking for the homerun. Patrick also likes to read the play and help out teammates. This gets him out of position on occasion. At the next level veteran receivers and quarterbacks can make him pay for his gambles. He has to learn to trust his teammates and stay in his lane.
There's been some knocks on his tackling but after watching film on him, I don't see anything that a decent pro defensive coordinator can't fix. For the most part, he shows up on film making great open field tackles and makes sure to wrap up, and his tackling style works perfect with what the NFL is looking for (no helmet to helmet).
Patrick has NFL bloodlines with 2 wide receivers and 2 cornerbacks in the NFL. When you come up with cousins that have that type of elite ability it improves your game. Usually if you have a big brother that's good in sports, you become better than him because you play against his ability everyday and try to become as good as him at a younger age. Peterson also played running back and defensive back in high school. At LSU they used him in the kick and punt return game. All this benefits Peterson as a cornerback because it's taught him how to see the holes, whether he's returning kicks at the next level (which I doubt because he's too valuable as a corner) or he's returning an interception. He has the Ed Reed ability to get the pick and find the creases to return for a touchdown. He's a momentum shifter and that's why his stock is so high.
Potential NFL Team, Round
There aren't too many teams that will pass on this type of elite corner. I'm sure if you go back and ask any of the 13 teams that passed on Darrelle Revis back in 2007 if they'll change their pick now, they'll happily do so. Corners usually don't get drafted in the top 5 but Peterson isn't your usual corner. The Panthers will take a look at Peterson and he would be a great fit there, but I think they'll go 'D' line instead. The Broncos at #2 really want that huge building block at the DT position, but if they can't resign Champ Bailey and the Perrish Cox trial goes south, it'll be hard to imagine them passing on Peterson. The Bills are next up, but would probably take AJ Green if it comes down to him and Peterson on the board. Cincinnati would definitely take Peterson at #4 if they can't resign Johnathan Joseph. Arizona has a lot of needs but would love to pair Rodgers-Cromartie with Peterson and the same goes for Cleveland at #6 with Joe Haden. My best guess right now would be Denver replacing Bailey with Peterson at #2.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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