Name: CB Patrick Peterson
Size: 6'0, 219 lbs
Expected Round: 1st, Top 5 overall
40 Time: 4.31s
Career Stats: Click Here.
Strengths: Very solid returnman. Able to engage in contact with receiver to jam the ball lose and defend the pass. Great burst to cut in front of the receiver to make the interception. Fluid athlete who can stick in the hip of a receiver. Elite man cover corner. Strong as a linebacker, with the agility of a cornerback- a very impressive combination. Will come down with a jump ball if it's 50/50. Great NFL bloodlines. Four down player. Extremely competitive.
Weaknesses: Scored single digits on his Wonderlic. Raw prospect who has a lot to learn before he becomes a lockdown corner. While he has the athleticism, he needs a higher football IQ to use that athleticism to his advantage. For example, he can stay step for step with a receiver, but he struggles to identify where the ball will be placed if the receiver can disguise his movement. Struggled against Alabama. Not a consistent wrap-up tackler, but will throw his body at the player. Can get looked off by quarterbacks and sometimes gets beaten by wrongly anticipating routes.
Why and Why Not the Patriots after the jump, and my final verdict!
Why the Patriots?: Peterson is considered the best cornerback in the draft because of his upside potential. He is able to stick to his man get the job done. To be honest, I'm struggling for reasons with Peterson.
Why Not the Patriots?: He's not very smart, which is an instant mark against him- he'll have to be smart and be able to read offenses and adjust with the rest of the unit to survive in the Patriots' zone scheme. He's better off in man coverage, which makes him a misfit. I'd compare him to a raw Asante Samuel because of his athleticism and his penchant for jumping routes. I feel like he would struggle to learn the Patriots' defense. Add in the high cost of trading up and Peterson is out of the question. I watched him against Julio Jones and against other SEC receivers and it seems like he struggles to stick with physical receivers on physical routes.
Verdict: I'm not high on the top corner prospects in this draft. I think that while Jimmy Smith has the best corner skills out of the corners in the draft, Peterson is the most athletic. He's better than Prince Amukamara, but I still question his NFL readiness. If the Patriots would trade up to get Peterson, they'd be giving up three or four starters for one player who'd have to sit on the bench for a season or two, and he might not even pick up the defense. Definite no.