The Ravens 2014 NFL season ended with a bit of a whimper as the Ravens were unable to cover wide receivers well enough to hold back the Patriots. An issue the entire year due to injuries, the Ravens would clearly benefit from having a first or second round pick be a defensive back. Due to that pressing need, many mock drafts have the Ravens targeting a talented, but troubled cornerback in Marcus Peters from Washington. The 6-foot, 198-pound corner provides a prototype size you'd want to see from a corner.
Good size and build for a starting corner. Uses his size and speed to be physical and can intimidate or redirect receivers in-route and especially at the line of scrimmage. Confident player that attacks throws and will win 50/50 throws by out-muscling and out-working the receiver. Good awareness both in the open field with zone coverage and in man coverage to stick in the hip of the receiver. Able to track the ball in the air and can make plays because of it. Displays a good burst when the ball is in the air and can close in to make surprising plays if taught more about that.
Peters is a smart football player that seems to know what play is coming and communicates well with other defensive backs as a unit. He stays relatively calm when the ball is in the air if he is in position and he uses his length and arm span to interrupt the ball in flight. Peters is aggressive in run support and runs downhill towards the ball carrier when he can shed blocks.
Obviously, Peters is a kid that has a checkered and troubled past, including a dismissal from the Huskies program after alleged incidents with the coaching staff. It is clearly making teams think twice about him, and pay more attention to his off-field failures rather than his on-field accomplishments. The combine interviews will be crucial for him as a failure at any point could push him well out of the first round. However, he does seem to be owning his mistakes, which is promising. Any team looking at Peters will have a long road of homework to do on him before even thinking about selecting him in any round.
Outside of his character concerns, Peters could use to add a little more mass to his frame as his hits don't have a lot of pop to them. He is a mediocre tackler that will have issues being dragged by bigger receivers in the pros. He can't seem to shed a block well from press coverage to make a play in the run game. Peters is incredibly hot headed during games and can be seen being too physical after the whistle and on the sidelines. A crafty receiver can and will get into his head and cause penalties unless he matures overnight. He can get grabby on double moves or if a receiver is able to beat him down the field.
Peters doesn't have elite speed on the field and can have trouble keeping up with vertical receivers if he can't get a hand on them at the line. His footwork can be sloppy at times, leading him to be out of position or forcing him to turn the wrong way, allowing a catch to be made. In run support, he can sometimes be a little overaggressive and will whiff on the ballcarrier.
Peters has the raw talent and ceiling to become a starter, but has not shown the maturity and discipline that is needed to jump to the next level. When watching his game tape, I see a player that thinks he is far better than he really is and will have a hard time taking coaching at the next level.
If he can mature quickly, he has the chance to become a good player in a press system, matched up against bigger receivers. As it is now, he lacks the finesse needed to become an every down corner in the NFL and match up against quicker slot receivers. He will find his money by going against larger, vertical receivers on the outside with safety help over the top.
He is less polished than Jimmy Smith coming out of college and presents a lower ceiling than Smith as well. Ignoring his off-field issues, he is a solid second round talent. With his issues added in, he shouldn't be selected above the third or fourth round without GMs and scouts feeling confident that he has put his issues behind him.