Marcus Peters: The Draft’s Best Cornerback


With the draft a month away, draft evaluators are honing in on their final take-aways for the 2015 prospects. The media consensus seems to be that Trae Waynes is the top cornerback in this class. While Waynes is certainly a good prospect, he’s simply not the best. After watching tape on both Peters and Waynes, I have determined that the award for the draft’s best cornerback prospect goes to Marcus Peters.

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Marcus Peters possesses an immense amount of talent, and if it wasn’t for a few character issues, he would be a much more sought after prospect.

Combine Measurements: 

Oct 19, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Marcus Peters (21) intercepts a pass intended for Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Jaelen Strong (21) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 197 lbs

Arm Length: 31 1/2”

Hands: 8 3/8”


+ Good size and length and knows how to use it. Uses length well to contest catches and reach across receivers’ bodies.

+ Fluid hips. Mirrors receivers on slants, comebacks, and ins very well.

+ Plays with an aggressive flare. This is evident when he contests passes, or when tackling a receiver or running back. Plays to intimidate the opponent.

+ Locates the ball very well.

+ Good not great speed and is very athletic. Posted combine times of 4.52 seconds in the 40 yard dash and 4.08 seconds in the 20 yard shuttle (Quickness). Also posted a position-best time of 11.26 seconds in the 60 yard shuttle.

Sep 28, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Marcus Peters (21) reacts to a fourth down stop against the Arizona Wildcats during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

+ Experienced in a press-man scheme. Excels at jamming wide receivers at the line. Can cause problems for elite receivers at the line (See Washington vs Arizona State game where Peters dominated Jaelen Strong) and cause havoc for receivers with below average footwork.

+ Willing tackler in the run game.

– Can be too physical downfield. Similar problem to that of Xavier Rhodes coming out of Florida State in 2013.

– Played well against top-talent but seemed to take rain checks on some downs against lesser opponents, although still consistently strung together good games.

– Was suspended a game and ultimately kicked off the team for multiple arguments with coaches. Will raise questions about how coachable a player he is. Will need a good locker room and/or a coach that can earn his respect and keep him in line.

Marcus Peters vs Trae Waynes

Speed: While Peters certainly doesn’t lack speed, he isn’t on Waynes’ level, who possesses a 4.3 40 yard dash. While both showed a good ability to stay with receivers running a go route, Waynes will be able to stick with the fastest receivers on these routes at the next level more consistently than Peters.

Quickness: Peters showed off his quickness on tape and at the combine, while Waynes disappointed at the combine as expected based on his inconsistent ability to mirror breaking routes.

Nov 22, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) stands on the field between plays during the1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Press Coverage Ability: Both Peters and Waynes excel at the line, jamming receivers effectively. However, Peters will sometimes open up before he needs to. After the jam, Peters is much better at sticking with and recognizing his receiver on any route other than a go route. Peters is also much more fluid than Waynes, who is a bit stiff in the hips.

Run Support: Both are willing tacklers in the run game and play the run aggressively. Peters tends to recognize runs faster but sometimes over pursues and misses the tackle, while Waynes often times will fail to recognize the run and stick with the receiver for way too long.

Ball Skills: Peters shows a great ability to win 50/50 balls and consistently put pressure on the receiver to make a tremendous catch. Waynes has the same traits, but to a lesser extent. Waynes doesn’t come down with the 50/50 balls as much as Peters, nor does he break up as many passes as Peters does at the catch point, but he is still above average in both areas.

Verdict: If I am an NFL GM, I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to Marcus Peters and choosing to take a superior prospect despite the fact that Peters has some off-field issues. Although Peters’ run-ins with coaches are certainly a cause for concern, if he is in the right situation, I don’t think it will be a problem. I worry a lot about Waynes’ lack of quickness and salivate over Peters’ coverage ability.

Draft Watch:

Peters could go anywhere from bottom of the top 10 to the middle of the second round. Despite popular belief that if the Minnesota Vikings take a corner at 11 it will be Trae Waynes, I think that Peters could easily be the selection here as well. If the Vikings share my belief that drafting Peters over Waynes is the way to go, it opens up the option of a trade down, as Peters is more likely to be on the board later in the first round than Waynes would be. The potential of Peters in Zimmer’s defense is astronomical, and with a secondary boasting Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, and Marcus Peters the Vikings could move from an “Above Average” secondary to a “Scary” secondary. Zimmer should be able to earn Peters’ respect and get the most out of him. It’s just what good coaches do.

Pro-Player Comparison:

Peters compares best to Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. Both Peters and Smith play with an aggressive flair that translates to the run game. They are of similar physiques, and both excel in press-man schemes.

Thank you all for reading. Do you agree? Disagree? Be sure to comment your opinions below, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @jackmack28!

Next: Mays Likely to Take On Rover Role for Mike Zimmer

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