I couldn't help but chuckle when I read that Mike Mayock of the NFL Network characterized LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson as a player who may be asked to move to safety in the NFL.
I found the projection humorous not because I necessarily disagree with it, but because cornerbacks 6-0 and taller and weighing over 205 pounds are almost always viewed by some as a potential safety prospect.
Peterson could make the switch to safety. He certainly has the bulk at 6-1, 212 pounds to make the move and has proven to be a reliable open field tackler who takes excellent angles in pursuit. A natural ballhawk, his secure hands and open field running ability make him a threat to take back any interception for a score -- something he might be in a better position to do if operating down the middle of the field rather than simply one sideline.
However, I'm a believer in the Keep-It-Simple, Stupid philosophy. Patrick Peterson rates as one of the most effective collegiate corners and most impressive NFL corner prospects I've graded in over ten years in this profession. I don't doubt that he could be a very successful safety; I just don't see the point in moving him when I feel strongly that he can be quality cornerback.
There are those who believe that Peterson is too upright and slow in his backpedal to handle the speediest of NFL receivers. I do believe that these traits make Peterson more susceptible to smaller, quicker receivers, but I also expect to see Peterson star in workouts, including the 40-yard dash eliminating any questions about his speed.
I have steadfastly kept Peterson as the No. 1 pick in my mock drafts for one simple reason. I believe he's the best player in the draft.
He may not wind up the first pick. After all, no cornerback has ever been selected with the first pick.
But he will be a top ten pick. And when he is, it will be as a cornerback.