BALTIMORE — Last year was a tough year for the Baltimore Ravens secondary, especially the corner-back position. The team lost a number of players at the position due to injury. The 2015 NFL Draft class is pretty deep at corner which is a good thing for teams like the Ravens that need to address the position. Marcus Peters from Washington is the top corner in the 2015 draft class.
Peters is a very aggressive player. He doesn’t hesitate to get physical with bigger receivers. He actually uses his physicality to try and intimidate receivers or and take them out of their game. The intense and competitive mindset that he has is an absolute requirement for a press corner.
There was some push-back about Peters because of his 4.51 time at the Combine but one thing to note is that his 20 yard shuttle was 4.08 which is a strong indicator of his lateral quickness. The ability to close on underneath throws really shows watching Peters on film. He fights for every pass thrown his way and uses his hips very well to turn and run with receivers on quick in breaking routes. Peters said that he brings a shutdown mentality to the game and called himself a ball-hawk.
Timing is one of the biggest attributes for Peters. He is aware of the rules in the NFL and how they favor receivers by limiting contact that corners can have. When asked about this, Peters has a simple explanation of how he is able to avoid illegal contact penalties. “There’s a lot of guys in the league that receive the rep of being grabby. You just have to know the right time to do it, when you can be physical with receivers. You have to know when to make a play on the ball.”
The video below shows all of Peters’ attributes. Peters is matched up on an island with Arizona State wide receiver Jalen Strong. Strong is a bigger receiver that is known for creating separation with his body. Peters is able to get a subtle jam at the line of scrimmage to disrupt the timing on the short passing play. This allows him to run step for step with Strong as he runs a slant route. Peters is deceptively physical with Strong throughout the route. He uses his hands to feel where Strong is as he looks at the quarterback to watch when he releases the ball. This allows him to in effect have two sets of eyes, one on the quarterback and the other set on the receiver. He sees when the ball is thrown and undercuts the route while incidental contact causes Strong to fall down. The result of the play is an incompletion and a frustrated receiver.
2015 NFL Draft Spotlight: Washington CB Marcus Peters
The major question with Peters is the issues that he had with the coaching staff at the University of Washington which caused him to be kicked off of the team. Peters took full accountability for everything. “It was a miscommunication, mostly on my part. I didn’t adjust to the coaching change well.” Peters continued: “I learned from my mistakes. I made some immature decisions at the University of Washington.”
Despite the issues that he had with the coaches, Peters feels that he is a leader and a solid teammate. “I think in my heart that I am a really good teammate. I am a leader that lets my play speak for me. I give everything that I can to my teammates to help us win.” Peters said.
Draft projection: 1st round
Why the Ravens should consider this prospect: Peters would be a top 15 talent if it wasn’t for his being kicked off the team. The Ravens locker room is full of veterans that would have a positive influence on Peters. Head coach John Harbaugh is a leader of men also. He relates to his players and gets through to them. His steadying guidance would also be a plus for Peters. Like Harbaugh, Peters is the son of a coach. Additionally, Harbaugh has a background as a defensive backs coach.
Peters is a press corner that is a perfect fit for the Ravens man press scheme. Jimmy Smith is a lock at one of the corner positions but Peters could challenge Lardarius Webb for the other starting spot. Asa Jackson is the nickel corner for now but Peters also has the ability to bump inside and cover the slot receivers. His willingness to come up and support the run is right in line with the tough mindset that the Ravens have.
NFL Comparison: Aqib Talib
Peters and Talib are similar in build. Both have the exceptional plant and drive skills that allow them to close on the ball. Talib is known for his ability to knock the ball away from receivers at the last moment. This trait is something that Peters showed in the aforementioned video. Then there is the mentality. Talib is known to talk trash to receivers and get physical with them at the line of scrimmage. Peters showed the same tendencies while at the University of Washington.