However, because of his natural fluidity is able to regain his balance quickly, possesses a good first step when asked to turn and run and has the ability to consistently keep pace with receivers with ease vertically down the field. When he wants to be physical off the line and press he's a very difficult corner to disengage from and get off the press quickly, but for the most part likes to play cute and simply play press bail.
Gets a little bit impatient at times as well in off, looking to open up his hips prematurely in order to turn and run, but showcases a good feel in zone. Looks much more patient in his drop, plays with better technique, keeping his base down, footwork compact and keying on the quarterback. Is naturally able to get in and out of his breaks and doesn't waste much motion at all for a guy his size.
However, isn't the kind of tackler you would expect for a guy at his dimensions. Has the ability to come up and tackle, but doesn't break down real well, doesn't always see what he hits and has a tendency to fall off too many ball carriers. Would like to see him showcase more patience as a tackler, break down with more poise and use his size/physicality to be more violent as a striker.
Has the physical capabilities to become a good tackler — it's more of a want thing. But, he is a great return man. Is dynamic in the open field, accelerates quickly, displays impressive wiggle to his game even at top speed and is a threat to take it the distance every time he gets his hands on the football. Should come in and be one of the top return men in the NFL from day one.
Impression: It's rare to find a cornerback at his size who can fluidly get out of his breaks and accelerate initially as well as he does. Has some technique flaws that are correctable and I expect him to overcome them and mature into one of the NFL's better corners."
Man Coverage: Rare fluidity and straight-line speed for a defender of his size. Quick feet and balance when backpedaling and when he switches to a side shuffle technique. Rarely uses his hands to jam the receiver, opting instead simply to turn and run with his opponent. Will occasionally misjudge the speed of his opponent when in off-man coverage, allowing the receiver to eat up too much of the cushion. Easily flips his hips and shows very good burst out of his breaks (especially considering his size) to mirror the receiver. Good acceleration and has a burst to close. Good route-recognition. Good body lean and use of the sideline to ride wideouts out of bounds. Excellent size, overall physicality and competitiveness for jump-ball situations. Times his leaps well and can high-point the ball due to excellent hand-eye coordination.
Zone Coverage: Good recognition for zone coverage, but will drift out of position when he's reading the eyes of quarterbacks, resulting in some big-play interceptions, but also in allowing receptions when savvy passers bait him. Quick feet and balance to change directions. Good route anticipation. Switches off his target quickly when he sees the quarterback throwing elsewhere. Closes on the ball quickly.
Closing/Recovery: Some concern over what his time in the 40-yard dash will be, but shows very good field speed and possesses a second gear of acceleration to close on the ball. Locates the ball quickly and has the long arms to break up passes (or even make the interception) when it appears that he is beaten. Has good, but not elite burst to break downhill out of his cuts, making him susceptible to comeback routes against bigger receivers who challenge him vertically (see Alabama, Texas A&M). Among best attributes is his size, leaping ability and ball skills on fade and go-routes against bigger receivers. Matches up well in jump-ball situations. Isn't afraid to get physical in these confrontations, but because he's going for the ball, doesn't draw the flag. Very good ball skills. Times his leap well, showing a good vertical and possesses the long arms and soft, strong hands to pluck the ball out of the air. Excellent return skills once he has the ball in his hands.
Run Support: When not in press coverage, reads run quickly and either provides the contain to push the runner back inside or makes the tackle himself. Focuses on his primary target - the receiver - when he's in press coverage and can be a step slower to recognize run. Trusts his teammates to make the play, showing good strength and toughness to fight through blocks, but not always the sense of urgency scouts would prefer. Good effort in pursuit. Takes good angles to the ball and has the speed to run down the ballcarrier.
Tackling: Reliable open-field tackler. Breaks down well in space to make the stop against elusive athletes. Willing to take on the bigger ballcarrier and does a nice of wrapping his arms securely around the legs to make the effective stop. Good effort in pursuit. Not an explosive hitter, but plays his size, strength and long arms help him knock down ballcarriers quickly.
Intangibles: Confident, almost cocky demeanor on the field. Possesses the short memory of all great cornerbacks. Extremely competitive. Seems to relish the battles against top receivers in man coverage. Campaigned to be used on special teams and even offense while at LSU due to his natural playmaking skills. Good bloodlines. Cousins of NFL cornerback Bryant McFadden and wide receivers Santana and Sinorice Moss. Characterized as "freak" athlete."
Ball skills: As good in this area as any cornerback eligible for the draft. His numbers won't show it because teams don't throw at him, but Peterson has excellent hands for a cornerback. More importantly, he knows when to make a play on the ball, especially in man coverage. Locates quickly and has long arms to disrupt. Tends to play the ball more than his man.
Body control: Is a smooth, natural athlete who doesn't get his feet mixed up. Stays balanced in his backpedal and doesn't get high when moving backward. Peterson has a good strength base to fight with receivers in the air. Seems to be aware of the sidelines when working a wide receiver wide of the hash or making an interception.
Instincts: Shows above-average football intelligence in route running recognition. Will only get better here with experience. That may only come in the pros as college teams rarely throw in Peterson's direction. Peterson is an aggressive cornerback who often seems to know where a play is going to develop and where the ball is going to be placed. As a return man, Peterson
Man coverage: As far as physical cornerbacks go, Peterson is one of the best in a long time. He has the size to redirect a receiver on the line and disrupt routes. One of Peterson's best assets is his hand checking, which he uses to close the natural window on receiver's outside shoulder. Can get beat at times against smaller, quick receivers with a good double move.
Size: Is big for a cornerback. Added 10 pounds of mass between his sophomore and junior seasons. The added size doesn't seem to have had a negative affect on Peterson's play. In one interview since getting bigger, Peterson said he feels quicker than ever. His frame may be maxed out, but it's NFL ready.
Speed: In the spring of 2010, Peterson was laser-timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.37 seconds. He's shown off that speed as a punt returner and will be able to immediately contribute in that area in the pros. Gets to speed in a hurry. Has the speed to chase down the ball carrier in the open field. Uses his speed nicely to be a comeback routes.
Tackling: Against the run, Peterson could be better. He's strong enough to tackle, and is a sure tackler. But he doesn't always get after it against the run. Can get lackadaisical and cut blocked. Will take solid pursuit angles to the ball. Is reliable on corner blitzes because he can beat blockers and close quickly on the quarterback with strength.
Zone coverage: Is good in zone but much better when in press coverage. Tends to break a little early on the ball to try and make an interception. This puts Peterson out of position, allowing good quarterbacks to complete passes in tight windows.
Final word: There is a lot to love about Peterson. His size and athleticism are elite and his coverage skills should only get better with more experience. He rarely gets tested at LSU. Is a premier return specialist who should contribute in that role immediately. He plays with a lot of swagger, citing Deion Sanders as his positional blue print.
Peterson is a better cornerback prospect than Joe Haden and Kyle Wilson. Shows very good high-point awareness. However, Peterson is not a perfect cornerback. He's struggled at times against quick receivers and gets beaten on double moves. Gets unfairly criticized for a 37-yard touchdown he allowed in the 2010 Capitol One Bowl, but the field was destroyed at that point in the game. In 2009, he shut down Alabama's Julio Jones – Jones had a 73-yard reception in that game after Peterson was out with cramps. Peterson hasn't had injuries, but he's had cramps on several occasions.
Added 10 pounds of bulk between his sophomore and junior seasons. According to LSU, Peterson can squat 535 pounds and bench press 335 pounds. Has register an 11-feet, 1-inch broad jump."
Peterson should be the first corner off the board.
The Ely High School graduate played running back, and all three positions in the secondary. He’s always been extremely versatile, also making a name for himself in the return game both in high school, and at the collegiate level.
The 2010 Thorpe and Bednarik Award winner has really been a huge factor in LSU’s defensive success in the last three years, most specifically in 2009 and 2010. He has become a true shut down corner who uses his speed, and physical ability to his advantage.
Perhaps Peterson’s biggest strength is his speed and athleticism. He’s rumored to run around a 4.37, which is incredible for a corner who’s nearly 220 pounds. He’s electrifying in the return game, and makes people miss when carrying the ball.
But as a pure cornerback, he’s a great press corner, often being physical jamming at the line of scrimmage, and also playing well in man coverage as he can stick with most receivers. He got a lot of experience against bigger SEC receivers like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery, etc. Peterson has an excellent backpedal, exceptional ball skills, and is excellent in overall body control.
He stays balanced, plays the ball well in the air, and doesn’t often get caught out of position. His acceleration is great for breaking on passes in the air, and does a nice job of getting his hand in on the opposition to swat the ball down. Peterson’s versatility is what makes him a much coveted player in the NFL Draft.
Peterson doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses, but he could improve a bit in zone coverage. He sometimes get too confident in his speed and acceleration, giving the wide receiver too much separation, finding himself out of position.
He needs to do a better job of watching the receiver’s hips, and not falling for the double move. Sometimes his eyes will get caught in the backfield, almost baiting the quarterback to throw the ball. He needs to improve with getting off of blocks in the run game. For as physical as he is, he should have no problem throwing receivers off. He is a great tackler, however, in the open field.
Peterson is undoubtedly a Top 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. There’s no doubt in my mind either that he’ll be off of the board by the fifth selection. Four of the first five teams drafting in the NFL could use a cornerback like Peterson, Cincinnati being the only team not truly needing a lock down corner. Look for Denver to select him with the second pick to play opposite of Champ Bailey and learn under him as well. Buffalo could afford to take Pat Pete at #3 overall, and if Arizona has a chance to select him at pick five, he’s as good as gone.
NFL Comparison: Charles Woodson"
Positive: Incredibly athletic defensive back with a tremendous amount of upside. Physical in all aspects of the game, aggressively works to defend the pass, and gets vertical over opponents to come away with the interception. Breaks down well, plays with suddenness, and flashes on the scene out of nowhere. Jams receivers at the line, mixes it up with opponents throughout the play, and can run with receivers anywhere on the field. Fast enough to recover from mistakes and has an explosive burst to the action out of his plant. Strong open field tackler.
Negative: Must improve the consistency of his backpedal as he is quick to revert to side shuffling down the field. Does not display good route recognition in zone coverage.
Analysis: Peterson has been a terrific college cornerback who also became a game-breaking return man. He has opposing quarterbacks purposely staying away from him, and on the occasions they challenge Peterson, he handles opposing receivers. Peterson is a bump-and-run cover corner with a terrific amount of upside. He will also get consideration at free safety and should only get better as he polishes off his skills."
Negatives: Can be caught out of position in zone packages... A little overaggressive... Lacks great discipline... Does not have the extra gear to recover when beat... Could be more aggressive in run support... Essentially two years college football cornerback experience... Played mostly special teams his freshman season... Overall technique could use some polishing"
Weaknesses: Plays the man rather than the ball, and is vulnerable to back shoulder throws. Does not always recognize draws and screens as his focus is on the receiver. Doesn't get many interceptions. Sometimes gets a bit sloppy in his technique, perhaps from boredom at not seeing any throws come his direction.
Projection: Great kid and a certain top-five selection. Starter from day one and has a chance at a Champ Bailey/Darrell Revis-type career at corner, and should be a great safety once he starts to slow down ten years from now."
His combination of size and speed really is incredible, as he stands at 6'1'' and 222 pounds. Peterson can be physical at the line of scrimmage while also matching opponents' best receivers stride for stride. He did not have a ton of experience heading into this season, but eight straight starts give him 25 for his career. As such, he will head into the NFL with basically no question marks. Peterson will be the first cornerback off the board and that should come within the first five picks of the draft."
At 6’1” and 211 pounds Peterson has the perfect build for an NFL corner which allows him to be effective against both the run and the pass. In pass coverage his size allows him to battle receivers at the line of scrimmage in bump and run coverage, in addition to being able to go toe to toe on jump balls down the field. He is fast, quick and fluid which allows him to flip his hips and run with receivers as effectively as any defensive back in the star-studded SEC. Peterson also owns the swagger necessary to be an elite cornerback at the next level. Every corner will get beat in coverage from time-to-time…it’s the one’s who can move on to the next play without giving the pervious one a second thought who have the mental makeup to thrive in the NFL. Peterson is supremely confident, which allows him to be aggressive and believe in his instincts. Against the Florida Gators last season we saw Peterson’s toughness as he delivered an impressive hit on Tim Tebow; he came on a corner blitz and later tackled the fabled Gator in the open field, something that didn’t happen very often. He hasn’t always been a factor against the run, but the ability is there. If Peterson takes his game to the next level, he could be the nation’s top defender in 2010. - Scouting Cornerbacks: Class of 2012
Pros: If an NFL general manager were allowed to go into a secret laboratory and create his perfect cornerback, that player would look like Patrick Peterson. Standing at 6’1” and 211 pounds, Peterson has the size to jam wide receivers effectively at the line of scrimmage and contest jump balls with even the biggest NFL pass catchers. Peterson’s frame is pure muscle and the length on his arms is outstanding for a cornerback. He also has very broad shoulders that allow him to carry his weight very naturally without impacting his speed or burst. In addition to his prototypical size, this Tiger also possesses the quick-twitch athleticism and raw speed to hang with even the fleetest of receivers.
Peterson is blessed with the quickness, instincts and fluid hips to be a number one corner in either man-to-man coverage or a zone defense. When the ball is in the air Peterson is very good at making a quick decision; whether or not to go for a pick, tip, strip, bone-crunching hit or safe tackle. The Florida native is more than just impressive physical skills—he has the make-up required to be a top-notch NFL cornerback. He owns the confidence and attitude to relish an assignment on an island against any wide out. Peterson also has the ability to forget the last play on the rare occasions when he does get burned—a must for any corner. He has the ability to follow the opposition’s number one target anywhere on the field and hold them in check for 60 minutes.
Yet another quality that will truly endear Peterson to NFL coaches is his physicality; he loves to hit and he loves to support in the run game. His large torso also makes him a very hard hitter, an effective, violent and technically sound tackling machine that foes in the SEC consciously ran away from. Rarely do you see a cornerback dictate run plays. Although he hasn’t been able to get his hands on the ball often, the former high school running back flashed his playmaking skills by finding the end zone twice as a sophomore. The LSU product comes with an NFL pedigree—he’s related to cornerback Bryant McFadden, as well as wide receivers Santana and Sinorice Moss. Physically, Peterson is exactly what NFL scouts dream of in a cornerback.
Cons: Scouts will want to see Peterson live up to the expectations he created with his stellar sophomore campaign and take his game to the next level. However, as good as he was in 2009, the LSU cornerback did not always play to his talent level. If an NFL team is going to be willing to use a top-10 selection on Peterson they will want to see more consistency. It is up to the Bayou Bengal to improve his pre-snap diagnostic ability and route awareness; he will only get so far in the NFL relying solely on his athleticism, no matter how impressive it is.
Our View: The USA Today Defensive Player of the Year and Parade All-American coming out of high school arrived at Baton Rouge with high expectations. After getting his feet wet as a true freshman, the LSU product turned in a second team All-SEC season as a sophomore (52 tackles, 15 passed defended). If Peterson has the junior campaign he is capable of, the Florida native has a chance to be a very high selection. His combination of size and athleticism doesn’t come along very often—we have him rated higher than Florida’s Joe Haden, who was the seventh overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft (Cleveland Browns). Peterson is truly a rare physical specimen, and unless he plays like a total buster his junior season he is assured of going in 2011’s first round should he decide to declare. The question is: how high? He could go as high as the top five if he stays healthy and progresses in the mental aspects of the game. The best way to do that is to develop a reputation as a gym rat and film junkie. Nothing makes scouts happier and owners more eager to drop millions on a prospect than to hear that they live and breathe the game."
He is so thick that NFL DB coaches could ask him to drop weight or even move him to free safety. For as physical as Peterson is — and he put on a clinic hemming Alabama's Julio Jones on the line — his hip tightness shows up against quicker receivers, such as Alabama's Marquis Maze, and he tends to freelance too much. He projects as a top-10 pick."
Patrick Peterson is head and shoulders above any Corner in this Draft Class, as I see it.
Verticity ~ the ability to Turn + Burn ~ is the Cardinal Measuring Stick with Corner Backs, in my twisted view of life...And Patrick Peterson commands exceptional Verticity.
He brings spectacular Long Speed, excellent Fluidity, great Instincts, and long arms to the table, as well.
He's a poor Tackler, and his Technique in the Passing Game needs work.
But Patrick Peterson is, all in all, an outstanding Corner Back prospect, and will likely forge an extraordinary career.
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