Positives: Peterson is an incredible athlete. He has an amazing combination of size, speed and athletic ability for a cornerback. He is a very fluid athlete and has not problem flipping his hips to turn and run. He has good burst to close on routes nearby him and he has pretty good instincts and isn’t afraid to use them which can lead to big interceptions or a nice break on the ball. He does a nice job of breaking on the ball and has impressive ball skills to knock down passes or come down with the interception. Once he makes the interception he is a very dangerous return man, and he is also a very dangerous kickoff and punt returner. He has the potential to be an elite man coverage corner thanks to his great straight line speed, fluid hips and good recovery speed. He also projects well to zone coverage because of his instincts and ability to bait QB’s into making poor throws.
Negatives: Peterson might be an elite coverage corner prospect but he is not much of a run support corner. He is slow to support the run even when he recognizes it, he doesn’t fight hard to get off of blocks, he isn’t a very good tackler and he isn’t great in pursuit from the backside of the play. He isn’t a very polished player either because he isn’t a fundamentally sound tackler and his footwork needs work. It doesn’t hinder him when he is transitioning from a back-pedal (which also isn’t very well developed) to running downfield with a receiver but at times he seems to waste steps when clicking and closing which could explain why he doesn’t close on some routes when in zone coverage as well as you might expect for someone with his athletic ability. He also has a tendency to gamble and bite on double-moves, and seems to be very confident in his athletic ability and instincts and will sometimes seem to be playing without great concentration.
Overall: I have heard Peterson referred to as the Calvin Johnson of cornerback prospects. I don’t think I’d agree with that, but there is no question he is an elite corner prospect. He is extraordinarily talented as he is extremely fast, has great ball skills, is a very fluid athlete and is a dynamic returner whether it is on special teams or after an interception. He has all the flashy ability you could want in a shut down corner, but he isn’t that fundamentally sound and that makes me wonder about him. Will he work really hard to tighten up his back-pedal, to improve his footwork which would allow him to close on routes faster when he is in zone coverage? I’m not sure. I don’t think he will ever be very good in run support and he probably won’t ever be much of a wrap-up tackler but if he doesn’t continue to work and develop his fundamentals I wonder if he will ever be the elite cornerback that so many people expect him to be.
Projection: Top 10. He is a top 10 lock in my opinion because of his fantastic athletic ability and potential and I would be very surprised to see him slide out of the top 10.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Man Coverage: 4.5
Zone Coverage: 4.0
Ball Skills: 4.5
Thanks for reading!