2011 NFL Draft: Patrick Peterson Aims To Be the Top Defensive Player Drafted

Brett Stephen@@brettstephenAnalyst IIJanuary 26, 2011

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the LSU Tigers against of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Former LSU All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson is almost certain to be the first cornerback taken in the 2011 NFL draft. But if you ask Peterson, that isn't enough.

Peterson is determined to be the first defensive player selected.  To do so, he will more than likely need to be the first overall pick.

Peterson was scheduled to meet with the Carolina Panthers, who hold the number one pick in the draft on Tuesday, in one of many interviews that the standout cornerback plans to participate in.  He also plans to meet with the Broncos, Saints, Dolphins, Redskins, Texans and 49ers this week before the Senior Bowl.

Peterson is not a senior so he will not be participating in the Senior Bowl. However, Peterson knows that to become the first defensive player drafted in this year’s defensively loaded draft, he will need to do more than show off his skills on the field. 

Peterson will show his maturity, determination and drive to be the best by being down in Mobile with a business mentality, meeting with every team that he can.

A shutdown corner and great return man, Peterson has the ability to contribute to an NFL team as a rookie and possibly be a game-changer.

One thing that Peterson does not lack is confidence.  A three-year starter at LSU covering the elite wide receivers of the Southeastern Conference, Peterson believes that he can be just as dominant in the NFL.

If any team could use the spark that Peterson can provide, it is the Carolina Panthers, who finished 2-14.

While the Panthers will face pressure from their fans to draft either a quarterback or an elite defensive lineman, a play-maker like Peterson could be their best bet.

There are no quarterbacks in the 2011 draft that warrant the first overall pick, so conventional thinking would indicate that the Panthers will select one of many elite defensive lineman projected to go in the first round to replace the gaping hole left by the departure of Julius Peppers.

The Denver Broncos could also take a strong look at Peterson as a possible replacement for Champ Bailey, who will be entering his 14th season in the NFL and has a very uncertain future with the Broncos.  Peterson is a player that can arrive and make an immediate impact.

The third pick in the draft belongs to the Buffalo Bills.  While the Bills could definitely benefit from the services of a player like Peterson, they may be better served by trading the pick for multiple picks to address other needs.

The Cincinnati Bengals have the fourth overall pick and will likely go in a different direction than cornerback.  The Bengals have drafted two cornerbacks in the first round in the past five years and would be hesitant to draft a third, regardless of the quality.

Almost any team past the fifth overall pick would want Peterson if he miraculously slides to them.  In particular, teams that have a need at cornerback would be Cleveland (sixth overall), San Francisco (seventh overall) and Houston (11th overall).

If Cleveland were to land a cornerback of Peterson’s quality to play opposite of Joe Haden, they would definitely have two of the best young cover corners in the NFL.

San Francisco would add to an already great, young defense including Patrick Willis, Nate Clements and an up-and-coming Taylor Mays.  Peterson, Clements and Mays would team up to make one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

The Texans have a gaping hole in their secondary that Peterson could fill immediately. The chances of Peterson dropping to the 11th pick are slim but if he does, the chances of him dropping to 12th are zero.

Peterson will be looking to be the highest defensive player drafted and if he manages to be selected in the top three, he’ll be the highest cornerback ever selected in the NFL draft. This is a record currently held by Charles Woodson who was selected with the number four pick in the 1998 draft.


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