As we continue breaking down the NFL draft, let’s move for a moment away from the quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Mallett (and past DaQuan Bowers as well) t0 talk about the surest prospects in the draft. In our mind, there are three guys who fit this category. Let’s look at all three prospects and their perfect fits.
CB Patrick Peterson – Peterson, an LSU prospect, is a speedy corner who’s also 6-foot-1. That’s an anomaly, and it’s what makes him so valuable. Peterson’s not going to get beaten deep because of his catch-up speed, and he has the size to present a devastating bump at the line of scrimmage. And if Peterson ever gets the ball in his hands, he has the potential to take it to the house. He’s more Darrelle Revis than Deion Sanders, and that’s a great thing for teams looking for CB help. Most mock drafts have Peterson going off the board by No. 7 (San Francisco) at the latest, but he would be a great fit for any of the teams at the top of the draft board. The Panthers are still considering him at No. 1, which is saying something – since no corner has ever gone higher than third in the draft. But Peterson’s flexibility will enable him to play in any system and therefore be a one-size-fits-all prospect anywhere between 1 and 7.
LB Von Miller – Miller, another supersafe prospect, is the prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker. While he has played as a 4-3 outside linebacker, he’ll bring his greatest value coming off the edge in the 3-4. That limits his market a little, since the top two teams and four of the top eight play the 4-3. But that means Miller fits like a glove for teams like the Bills at 3, the Cardinals at 5, and the 49ers at 7. Where Miller goes may depend on when Newton and Gabbert get selected, since both Buffalo and Arizona are QB-needy, but our sense is that he’ll be off the board by the time the Cards turn in their card and make their pick.
WR A.J. Green – There haven’t been many black marks against Green as a prospect. He’s been both a dependable receiver and a big-play threat, and although he doesn’t have quite the speed that fellow receiver prospect Julio Jones has, Green has stayed on the field more. Green looks to be a true No. 1 receiver, which would fill gaping needs in Carolina or for the Browns, who have the 6th pick. And as the Bengals, picking 4th, turn the page on the T.O./OchoCinco era, Green is appealing as well. Any of those spots would fit for Green, but you’d have the think the Browns would be especially thrilled to be able to bring him to Cleveland.