Summary: If it weren't for off-the-field issues, Peters could be the top cornerback in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has a first-round skill set with size, speed, length and ball skills. However, Peters did major damage to his draft stock when he was kicked out of the Washington Huskies program midway through the 2014 season. He also hasn't interviewed well with NFL teams since then. Multiple teams have said they question whether Peters has actually learned and grown from the incident.
In 2013, Peters recorded 55 tackles with five interceptions, one forced fumble and nine passes broken up. He had some clutch games against Stanford and Oregon State. Peters was a Second-Team All-Pac-12 performer.
Despite his abbreviated 2014 season, Peters recorded 23 tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions. He had an excellent game against Stanford with an interception and good coverage on Cardinal receiver Ty Montgomery. Versus Jaelen Strong and Arizona State, Peters put together a solid game. He was beaten by Strong on two receptions, including a touchdown, but had wins on Strong as well. Peters covered Strong better than any other defensive back last season. Then Peters was kicked off the team for repeated arguments with the new coaching staff, and it had reached the point that the team couldn't tolerate his presence because it was setting a bad example for other players.
Washington did allow Peters to continue to train at the school and participate in ita pro day. At the Combine and in team interviews, Peters didn't impress or convince teams that his problems were a thing of the past.
For the NFL, Peters is a man-cover corner who is capable of going one-on-one against good receivers and keeping them from big games. Peters will give up some plays here and there, but overall, he has been very good at limiting the effectiveness of No. 1 receivers. Peters has the speed, size and agility to run with them and prevent separation. Peters is quick to maintain coverage in and out of breaks with the agility to open up his hips and run downfield when the wideouts go vertical. He also shows a nice job of defending the back-shoulder sideline throws that are en vogue in the NFL.
Peters is a dangerous cornerback to throw at with his ball skills. He is adept at snatching the pass and taking it the other way. In the NFL, it wouldn't be surprising if he has some significant interception totals in some seasons.
For Peters to stick in the NFL and be a success, he has to change his attitude to work with a variety of coaches. Peters could mesh well with one staff and then have issues with another. With the frequency of coaching staff changes, it is important for Peters to become coachable. It wouldn't be surprising if he becomes a player who bounces around as teams get tired of his act while other teams feel they can work with him.
In speaking with NFL teams, they are split on if Peters will go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. They all agree that he has first-round talent and would be a first-round pick if it weren't for his off-the-field issues. In surveying five teams, three thought Peters would not go in the first round, but two thought he would. In the 2015 NFL Draft, Peters could go as high as the middle of the first round and also could fall into the third round. The second round could be his safest estimate.
Player Comparison: Aqib Talib. There are a lot of similarities between these two. Both are cover corners who can play on an island and prevent separation. They also have size, speed, length and ball skills. Talib will occasionally be beaten for some plays, which can happen to Peters as well. Both players have off-the-field issues and maturity concerns.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England, Detroit
There are a lot for teams that are in the market to improve their cornerbacks and the free agent market was consumed quickly, so Peters has a number of landing spots in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Minnesota is in the cornerback market for a partner for Xavier Rhodes. With the passing attacks in Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago, the Vikings are going to need a top-notch secondary. Plus, Mike Zimmer is always inclined to draft corners. Minnesota has shown interest in Peters, and Zimmer has been open to taking players with off-the-field issues.
The Saints signed some veterans, but they could consider more cornerback help. Peters could be in play for New Orleans' five picks on the first two days of the 2015 NFL Draft. San Francisco and Miami also could us a long-term starters at corner as both rosters have some age at the position. Cornerback is the biggest need for the 49ers. He could be a perfect fit for them in the second round. Peters isn't a great fit in Miami as general manager Dennis Hickey rarely takes players with character concerns.
Philadelphia signed some veterans, but they could still consider cornerback help. Peters could be the nickel and eventually become a starter when the organization saves money by cutting a veteran. Chip Kelly likes players from Oregon's Pac-12 rivals, however the Eagles could avoid Peters over the off-the-field concerns.
Arizona needs a cornerback to replace Antonio Cromartie, and Peters has the skill set that Cardinals look for. He could form a nice duo with Patrick Peterson.
The Steelers have a huge hole at corner. Peters fits the type of defensive backs that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have drafted in the past. Pittsburgh also had Peters in for a pre-draft visit.
The Ravens need to improve their cornerback play and could definitely be a landing spot for Peters. They've shown interest in him, including a pre-draft visit. The Colts could use a long-term starter to pair with Vontae Davis.
Green Bay lost some veteran corners in free agency and like big cornerbacks who can run. Peters could be in play for the Packers at the end of the second round, but they can be more strict when it comes to character concerns.
Peters could also fit the Patriots as they have to replace Darrelle Revis. The Lions got a good year out of Rashean Mathis, but he won't play forever and could use a corner to pair with Darius Slay in the long run.