NFL Draft Prospects For LSU's Patrick Petersonand Stevan Ridley

by Eric Caldwell
(Melbourne, FL)

The AT&T Cotton Bowl Provides Contrasting Effects for LSU Prospects

LSU's Patrick Peterson was poised to enter the draft as a surefire top 5 pick and perhaps the most coveted defensive player on the board. His physicality and ball skills drew comparisons to Darrelle Revis, the NFL's most feared and talented cornerback.

But Friday night unveiled a different side of this Kiper-acclaimed stud: Peterson was manhandled by Texas A&M's faceless receiver, Jeff Fuller, as he showed serious lapses in concentration and basic technique while Fuller worked the far sideline and made P.P.'s attempted tackles look like warm up drills.

This uncharacteristic performance plants a deep seed of concern in the minds' of General Mangers who were previously gripping onto hopes that Peterson would fall far enough for them to snag.

Although he's still got his Bednarik and Thorpe Awards to reinforce his resume (not to mention he's a 2-time All-American), I'm considering dropping him from the ranks of the upper-echelon of the 2011 defensive back class, that is, with UVA's Ras-I Dowling and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara both turning in impressive Senior seasons. This game’s results may have just thrust Peterson into the 20-24 range on the draft board and certainly out of the #1 DB slot.

Peterson's careless play may end up making a coach such as Pete Carroll or Jim Caldwell a very camper as the 5-star prospect might fall right into their hands. He could also fill these men with a sense of regret and dismay if the Cotton Bowl embarrassment ends up being more than just a one-time blooper reel.

On the other hand, I REALLY liked what I saw from Junior tailback, Stevan Ridley. Ridley is likely to return for his senior season but he displayed ample vision, an explosive burst, and what I consider the most important quality when scouting a back - a consistent forward push. His patience was mild-tempered as he politely allowed his blockers to clear him a defined path, yet still willing to lower his shoulder and hammer a clogged hole when the time was appropriate.

If there's a team looking to add a running back in the late 3rd-early 4th rounds, I say pass on a Noel Devine and take a chance on this kid should he decide to forego his Senior season. He's a hidden gem and his upside is enough to keep any GM grinning.

AT&T’s annual SEC/Big 12 matchup sent to men’s future’s climbing in opposite directions. The slop that Patrick Peterson brought onto the field with him may have ultimately cost him millions of dollars, while Stevan Ridley’s inspired performance may have ended up earning him the opportunity of a lifetime. Best wishes to these fine young athletes and I’m sure they both have bright NFL futures ahead.

Here's some other NFL Draft Preview Articles:

SEC Offensive Line Prospects in 2011 NFL Draft and Top Tight Ends in 2011 NFL Draft.

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