INDIANAPOLIS – LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraskas’s Prince Amukamara, who are regarded as the top 2 cornerbacks in the draft, spoke to reporters Sunday afternoon at NFL scouting combine
Peterson, who figures to be one of the first 5 or 6 players off the board, made two notable pronouncements. One was that he is hoping to run a sub-4.3 forty when he works out for scouts and coaches on Tuesday.
The other was that, while he wants to remain a cornerback at the next level, the former LSU star won’t fight a move to safety if the team that drafts him wants to put him there.
Both Peterson and Amukamara are big, physical corners. Peterson was measured at 6-0 and 219 pounds Sunday, Amukamara 6-0 and 206 pounds.
Peterson excels in press-man coverage, but there are some questions about his ability to play off-man.
``He’s got a little bit of stiffness to him that the longer, bigger corners always do or usually do,’’ said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. ``Ultimately, he might be best served as a safety. I think he can play corner, but down the road a little bit, because he’s a big, strong, tough guy that can run, I think he might be an All-Pro safety.’’
Peterson said he feels his ``best game’’ is on the corner. ``But if an NFL teams wants me to move, I’m more than willing to transition my game.
Peterson said there is no need for him to drop any weight. He is fast at 219 points. Said he ran a 4.29 last week during his training.
``I feel swift the way I am,’’ he said. ``I feel fast. I don’t want to kill myself losing weight. I’m confident at this weight, and fast.’’
Peterson said he is eager to prove to people that he can play off-man and back-pedal.
``I want to work on my zone coverage,’’ he said. ``I didn’t do a lot of that at LSU. People say I can’t back-pedal. I want to show them that I can.’’
Peterson said he tries to pattern his game after another big corner, the Packers’ Charles Woodson.
``I don’t want to be the next Charles Woodson, but I want to pattern my game after Charles Woodson. Because he can play each and every defensive position on the field. If they gave him the opportunity to play d-end or d-tackle, he’d definitely do it.
``That’s something I want to do to show people I can definitely learn. I can learn the scheme and understand the scheme. If they need me to play nickel or dime or strong safety, I’m definitely the guy for it.’’
Another appeal to Peterson is the fact that he was used as a return man at LSU.
``That’s the main reason I put on a little bit more weight (at LSU),’’ he said. ``The strength and conditioning coach wanted me to put a little more muscle mass on. That’s what I did. As you saw, I didn’t go down with one tackle.’’
Amukamara wasn’t nearly as comfortable as Peterson talking to the large throng of reporters that surrounded his podium at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Asked about running the 40 on Tuesday, he said, ``I’m looking forward to doing real good at it.’’
Amukamara said he’s been working hard on his technique in his pre-combine training. ``I feel like I was too high in my backpedal,’’ he said. ``So I’ve been working hard on that.’’
Asked if Peterson gets more notoriety than him because he plays in the SEC, Amukamara said, ``Patrick Peterson is an amazing player. And whatever attention or notoriety he’s getting he deserves.’’
Amukamara said he talked to former Nebraska teammate Ndamukong Suh before coming to the combine. Suh’s advice: ``He told me to just treat it as a business trip, which I’ve been doing. And I’m happy with that advice.’’
Unlike Peterson, he said there isn’t an NFL player he tries to pattern his play after. ``I have great respect for all the DBs at the next level. But there’s not one particular guy that I try to model my craft after.’’
With a solid workout here, Amukamara figures to be a top 12 pick in the April draft. Asked if he pays any attention to the myriad of mock drafts, he said: ``I’m not someone who googles themselves. But if I see it on ESPN, I’ll pay attention to it. But I know it’s like preseason polls. Nothing is set in stone yet.’’
While cornerback is on the Eagles’ offseason shopping list, both Peterson and probably Amukamara as well, apperar to be out of their first-round reach draft. The Eagles currently own the 23rd overall pick.
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