Scouting Report: If there was ever a player in this draft to pass the eyeball test it's the LSU Tigers Patrick Peterson. He really is a remarkable physical specimen as a defensive back with a long lean frame and exceptional fitness. Peterson is a typical top flight DB in one sense in that he's cocky. Not confident, cocky. Not that cockiness a bad thing, because it's not. In fact his ability to forget a bad play and come back is a big bonus. Seeing DBs with low confidence drives me crazy. In terms of his coverage abilities, I see Peterson as being much stronger in man than zone. He does a nice job predicting the route but his real strength is being able to mirror the wide out. His ball skills are exceptional and when the it's in the air, he is just as capable as most wide receivers of taking the ball. Peterson is an exceptional athlete with solid speed and leaping ability, and as far as CB skills go, he's a pretty smooth athlete. Keeps his butt nice and low in his backpedal and does a good job maintaining his backpedal and not turning and chasing too quickly.
Draft Status: Peterson is the best cornerback in this draft, and for me the gap between him and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara is pretty wide. With no elite quarterback in the draft, a guy like Peterson could see himself being selected no. 1 overall. Oh, and I don't buy the theory that Peterson doesn't have the size to play FS in the NFL. He's 6'1" and around 210lbs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he's bigger than Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu. I can't imagine Peterson making his way out of the top 5.
Final Analysis: In all this talk of just how great a defensive prospect Peterson is, I didn't even talk about the fact he's one of the most explosive kick and punt returners in the nation. Peterson offers whatever team drafts him a fabulous package of size, athleticism and football skills. He's not going to run a 4.3 and yes he will need to do a better job with recognition when playing zone coverage, but what he does well, he does really well. He'll also need to step up his aggression in run support but is a very good tackler, electing to secure the player rather than go for the big hit. Always a plus, especially in the open field.
Reminds me of: Nnamdi Asomugha free agent CB. High praise I know, but I have no doubt Peterson can be the same kind of player Asomugha is. The kind who will take an opponent's best WR out of the game every week. Oh and when you figure in high kick return abilities, it's not out of the question to say Peterson may have a higher ceiling than Asomugha.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy