NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
Today, I continue my look at the Cornerback position with Oklahoma State standout Kevin Peterson. There is a lot to like from his tape, so lets not waste anymore time and get right into it.
So far in this predraft process, I have focused most of my attention on the Cornerback position. Some may argue that there are bigger needs to be filled and they might be right. In a league that relies so much on passing the ball, a team can never have too many good corners. The Patriots have over the years allowed their high profile and high priced Cornerbacks walk, so the need is always there in my opinion. Sure the team has some young players that have played well this year, but this team still needs more overall talent that can play the position with consistency. That leads us to today’s report on Kevin Peterson.
Name: Kevin Peterson (#1)
School: Oklahoma State (Sr.)
Weight: 190 Lbs.
Peterson really stands out from an athletic standpoint. He has an excellent combination of speed, quickness, and agility. He shows good technique in his footwork which allows him to change direction and accelerate towards the ball. Peterson shows good hip fluidity and the ability to turn and run with even the fastest receivers. Peterson shows good toughness in the run game and is willing to come up and make tackles.
At 5’11” and 190 Lbs. size is a concern for me. Peterson struggles winning the position battle with bigger, more physical receivers. Another aspect of his game that gave me concern was his field awareness. There were times it looked like he got caught flat footed thinking about where he was supposed to go or what he was supposed to do. In the games I watched, there seemed to be one or two times there would be a missed assignment or a miscommunication with him and the other defensive backs. I am not saying this is all his fault, but he could struggle playing other concepts besides straight man. Finally, I want him to turn his head. We have had so many corners on the Patriots that are athletic enough to run with and have good coverage on their receiver, but they don’t turn their head and look for the ball. This has lead to many frustrating completion over the years and Peterson seems to do the same thing. He has had his fair share of breakups over his career, but his interception numbers are not great and it’s because he doesn’t turn his head and watch the ball. He plays bigger than his size would indicate but it has led to some injuries that has cost him some games.
Peterson is a very smooth athlete. He is transitions well out of his back pedal and shows good footwork to change direction. He is an excellent run and chase man defender. I commend him on his tackling efforts in the run game despite his frame. He might be best suited playing the nickle where he can use his athleticism to his advantage more. Peterson has to get stronger and improve his technique against bigger, more physical receivers. The athleticism is there, but he needs some work on technique and awareness. He does not get a Day 1 or Day 2 grade for me, but his athletic traits should get him drafted early on Day 3.