Marcus Peters, the junior cornerback from the Washington Huskies, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a tumultuous end to his collegiate career. Peters was dismissed from the Huskies program after alleged incidents involving members of the team’s coaching staff. Peters played in a total of 8 games last year, after starting 12 of 13 games in 2013. He also started 8 games at corner in 2012. Prior to his dismissal, Peters collected 3 INTs, 30 Tackles and 10 PBU’s last season. In 2013, Peters finished the year as a Second Team All-Pac12 performer with 5 INTs, 55 Tackls and 14 PBU’s (as well adding one sack.) Physically, Peters possesses good height and length with long arms and legs and a lean overall frame. He doesn’t have a powerfully built lower half, and his legs/calves appear to be on the skinny side. Peters is an attacking-style corner, especially against the run. He is quick to react and gets moving downhill toward the ballcarrier in a hurry. While Peters has the ability to make plays/tackles away from his frame, he struggles at times to break down in space and he can be a bit overaggressive with his angles. He fights blockers in an attempt to disengage/shed, and he’s relatively sound in that area. Peters has a “want” to win in tight quarters and lower the boom on the running back, but his frame lacks the mass to support his state of mind; His hits lack much jolt or pop. As a cover man, Peters is at his best in physical man coverage where he uses his length and intensity to win a the snap. He’s physical off the line and does a nice job mirroring through contact. He consistently re-routes the receiver and disrupts the timing of the pattern. When playing in soft coverage, Peters showed some struggles redirecting and appeared tighter than expected when changing directions. He does have fluid hips and can flip and run in the long passing game, staying on the receiver’s hip and using his length to breakup the pass. That said, Peters can get a little leggy on double moves, lacking ideal balance and footwork. I don’t think Peters will win versus a quicker, slot-type receiver on a consistent enough basis and is best fit to deal with the bigger, linear outside NFL receivers.
BOTTOM LINE: Marcus Peters is a promising cornerback prospect who has the natural length and toughness to be a successful corner that presses off the snap. He needs more polish with his footwork and pursuit angles, and his reported character concerns will certainly make teams do their homework. But his ability to jam the receiver at the LOS and stay on their hip down the field will be an asset that teams will want in an effort to combat the bigger, physical NFL pass catchers. Peters offers a solid second-day value based on tape, without taking into consideration his off-field issues.
GRADE: 7.5 (2nd Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)