This is normally not a hard question when it involves someone like Marcus Peters, who many consider to be a top 15 talent if it weren't for the character concerns, but I have constantly been coming back to this same question over and over after going over the tape and it's honestly closer than I realized. First off while Marcus Peters is considered an amazing talent by a lot of people, Kevin Johnson on the other hand is seen as fringe 1st to 2nd RD guy which in my personal opinion does not make sense when watching his tape and seeing what he did at the combine. His stock is considered to be on the rise as of late, but who is better though, Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest, or Marcus Peters from Washington?
Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest, 6'0", 31" arms, 188 LBS
40 yard dash: 4.52
Bench Press: DNP
Vertical: 41.5 inches*
Broad Jump: 130 inches*
3 Cone Drill: 6.79 sec*
20 yard shuttle: 3.89 sec*
60 yard shuttle: 12.19 sec
Kevin Johnson is a very fluid, tall CB with probably the quickest feet in the draft from a CB. Johnson diagnoses plays very quickly and it's very hard to try short routes against him because he flies to the WR and normally makes the tackle for a short gain or swats the pass away. His specialty is zone coverage which isn't a surprise because of his smooth hips, quick feet and recognition skills. Johnson has improved in man coverage throughout his time at Wake Forest and has shown the ability to stick to receivers and not allow much separation and has shown the ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and not allow a good get off. Johnson was normally asked to play against the other team's best WR. Johnson can jump routes and showed a knack for the ball with the ability to pick off passes. Has a short memory and doesn't let one play get to him.
This play right here is a good example of how Johnson is playing off the WR and he uses his quick feet, and then sinks his hips and makes a play on the ball. What I like on this play is the physicality he shows when he tackles the WR, which forced an incompletion. I have to give credit for Bleacherreport for this GIF.
While yes Kevin Johnson played at 173 LBS, which isn't ideal for shedding blocks, he doesn't lack that physical mindset or the willingness to make a huge tackle. While his tackling needs work on this play showing he needs to wrap up a little more rather than just lunge himself at the WR, he does make a huge tackle on 3rd down to force a punt. Thank you once again Bleacherreport for this last GIF.
This play is a great example of him playing off and baiting the QB to throw the ball to someone who's not actually open. He reads the eye's of the QB and quickly jumps the route.
On this play he showcases his vertical, his long arms, his excellent man to man coverage and his ball skills on this spectacular interception. Not a lot of CB's can make a play like this.
Johnson can sometimes get a little grabby when he gets beat, in the past two seasons he's been flagged nine times for 132 yards. Sometimes he got a little to aggressive like in the Louisville game where he got ejected for targeting. Johnson is a willing tackler but he sometimes get's lazy with his tackling technique and just lunges himself at the receiver, in the NFL that won't cut it.
Great Article on Kevin Johnson, I strongly recommend that you read this article about Kevin Johnson on the Charlotte observer. it talks about his strengths, his weaknesses and his character.
Highlight tape, If you haven't watched Kevin Johnson's highlight's, I encourage you watch this video
Marcus Peters CB Washington 6'0", 31 1/2" arms, 197 LBS
40 yard dash: 4.53
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical: 37.5 inches
Broad Jump: 121 inches
3 cone drill: 7.01
20 yard shuttle: 4.08 sec
60 yard shuttle: 11.26 sec*
Marcus Peters is a tall, fluid, excellent man to man corner that doesn't allow much separation and can stone WR's at the line of scrimmage. He has incredible ball skills and is able to make spectacular plays when he get's his hand on the ball. He didn't stay on one side of the field, he was constantly covering the best WR on the other team no matter if he was in the slot, on the left, or on the right (Jaelen Strong). Peters is quick diagnosing plays and does a great job of jumping routes. His instincts make him good in zone coverage as he is able to diagnose plays and make the tackle. Makes the kind of plays you see from people who are in the film room a lot. Peters is very confident and has a very short memory, things that you look for in a CB. Peters makes critical plays in critical points of games, and he is a very willing tackler.
This is one of my favorite plays from Marcus Peters, Hogan is throwing to the middle of the field to his WR covered by somebody else and Peters recognizes this and he jumps the route and intercepts the pass. Incredible ball skills right there by Peters
Marcus Peters right here, stones Jaelen Strong at the line of scrimmage and redirects him towards the sideline and Peters is in perfect position to make a play on the ball, pretty much boxing out the WR giving him no chance to make a play.
This play happens at a critical point, his team is down, and it's 3rd and short, he gets blocked on the play at first but regains his balance and brings down Hogan and forces a punt. Washington ended up winning this game.
This next play just shows what kind of play maker Peters is, in excellent position he redirects his WR towards the sideline and he makes an outstanding one handed pick. What I don't like though is him looking over and taunting the receiver in the end zone, he eventually takes it out and get's to about the 35 yard line.
We all know about his character issue with Washington and how he got kicked off the team, we get it, it's concerning. Peters can sometimes get over aggressive and he taunts the other receivers and get's flagged for it (kind of like Cortland Finnegan), he is young though. Sometimes he keeps his eyes locked on the QB too much and it can cost him, it didn't as much in college but in the NFL that could burn you.
Great article on Marcus Peters by SI breaking down what happened at Washington and how he's owning up to what he did. Strongly recommend you read it.
Highlight tape, if you haven't yet watched Peters highlights, I encourage you watch this video
When I started writing this post I was set that Johnson was better but after carefully looking over all the film for a 4th time, I have realized that it all depends on whether you trust Peters in his interviews, if you have the kind of leaders on your team to keep him from ruining the team, and what scheme you run more of. Both have outstanding ball skills and both have some of the same issues in run support (both correctable). Johnson greatly excels in zone and has got the quicker feet and more fluid hips, while Peters excels greatly in man coverage, and has better instincts and balls skills. Both have an excellent work ethic and have the tools to succeed in the NFL. Both are impressive on tape and show the skills you want to see in a starting CB. The combine was of course won by Johnson over Peters but Peters still has his pro day to show that he can do better in some of the events where he did not impress. I personally would not be mad over one or the other come draft day, Peters is more risky but if you have the right coach and the right players, he could be a special player.
With all that said though....
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