Defensive tackle Corey Peters will be the surprise Pro Bowl player on the Atlanta Falcons roster in 2012 and is a superstar just waiting to break out. ProFootballFocus.com does a feature every year called the "secret superstar" and after this year, Peters will be worthy of the spot.
Peters was a third-round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky that left many Falcons fans scratching their heads. However, he has proved to be an amazing selection starting 30 out of 32 games the past two years and doing well in both run stuffing and creating pressure with his penetrating style.
Peters was originally drafted to be a penetrating run stuffer. He has lived up to his initial draft billing by placing in the top 14 for run-stuffing defensive tackles in 2011 with his 22 stuffs on just 264 snaps against the run. He registered a 8.33 percent run stop percentage for ProFootballFocus and was ranked ninth in the NFL for his run-stuffing ability by the statistics website.
The Kentucky product also is a heck of a pass-rusher, and he truly blossomed in his ability to get after the quarterback and finish plays in the 2011 season. While he was solid and ranked 23rd in the NFL in pass-rush productivity in 2010, he was even better in 2011 where in just 60 more pass rushes he had two more sacks.
He also has a knack at reading screens and did an excellent job in 2011 on this play, courtesy of nflrush.com. He was running a stunt to the outside and noticed that the line was setting up for a screen. He decided to stick his arms in the air and turned a tipped ball into an interception and a game-changing play.
The only possible thing that could derail the young defensive tackle from continuing his excellent career pace and being the "secret superstar" for 2012 is a foot injury that he suffered this offseason (h/t D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). He should be fully healthy for the season coming up, though, and unless there is a complication with the foot injury, he should be perfectly healed come training camp.
Another thing that should help him is the simplification of the scheme that is coming with Mike Nolan. Expect Peters to still be a penetrator in the defense and the best defensive tackle in the Falcons defense in 2012.
Scott Carasik is an NFL Draft and Atlanta Falcons Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek and also runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and the host of Kvetching Draftniks Radio.