NEW YORK — Some scouts and analysts will tell you that Patrick Peterson is as talented as any prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft. Some will even go as far as to say that he might be the best player in the draft.
However, Peterson is unlikely to be the top overall pick. It’s conceivable he won’t even be a top-five choice.
The problem? For one, cornerback, while always a vital spot in a pass-happy league, doesn’t appear to be the most pressing need for any of the teams selecting in the top five. For another, there has been some criticism that, at about 220 pounds, the 6-foot Peterson might be a bit too large to be a highly successful cornerback in the NFL.
Not surprisingly, Peterson is a little bit defensive about the subject of his weight.
“I know a lot of people want to downplay (his draft rating), saying how big I am,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve been big like this all my life. I came into college at 205. I can’t help it that I’m a little bigger than the rest of the corners.”
NFL teams shouldn’t worry too much about that, though. Peterson does have tremendous skills. He not only is plenty fast, but also, because of his size, has the strength to provide solid help in run support.
Peterson also has a strong work ethic, patterning his game after that of Packers CB Charles Woodson, whom he admires most for his understanding of every position on defense.
“I’ve done all I’ve had to do to solidify myself on where I should go and what team should pick me,” Peterson said. “Now it’s out of my hands. A team’s got to make a decision. It’s all about what they want and what they need. Whoever picks me, they’re going to have a great player and I’m going to give it all I have each and every play. The sky’s the limit for me.”
Most prognosticators see Peterson being taken somewhere in the range of fifth (to the Cardinals), sixth (Browns) or seventh (49ers) overall. He said he felt an especially good vibe from his visit with the 49ers, particularly the “energy” that existed while he watched game tape with team officials.
If Peterson should find himself still sitting in the green room beyond the seventh pick, will he become annoyed?
“Annoyed? No,” he said. “I’d be excited to go to any team.”
Given Peterson’s talent, the feeling should be mutual for the team that drafts him.
Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci