The following video was taken before Peterson ran his two 40-yard dash attempts on Tuesday afternoon.
In 2008 Patrick Peterson, then Patrick Johnson, a 6-foot, 197-pounder who was tabbed as the No. 1 cornerback in the country, left Pompano Beach, Fla. and headed West.
A one-time commitment to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, Peterson saw Baton Rouge as a place where he could compete for titles at the highest level.
It was the Southeastern Conference, and Peterson would be joining a club that was fresh off a National Championship.
While the crystal ball didn’t arrive, the legend of Patrick Peterson grew to new heights. From his return-duty debut in Atlanta to the touchdown return that led to the Heisman pose, PP7 never disappointed.
All along Peterson made one thing certain.
By the time he left Louisiana he wanted to be one of the most sought after prospects in the NFL Draft.
Once in Baton Rouge and comfortable with the local media, Peterson, then a rising young star in the college game, often talked about hoping to leave for the next level after his junior season.
After three years of college, off he went.
“I believe I achieved all the goals I went to LSU for; to win the Jim Thorpe (Award) and the Bednarik (Award). I wanted to push a run for the Heisman but unfortunately Cam Newton one it.”
Just as he had in 2008, Peterson left home last week to prove himself to the national audience once more – a final audition of sorts.
At Tuesday’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, the 2010 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-American staked his claim at the top of the draft board.
Now it’s just about who snatches him up first.
After starting his junior campaign last August weighing in at 222 pounds, Peterson told reporters throughout the season that he was trimming up. Cramps became an issue on more than one occasion, but No. 7’s role as the top cornerback and go-to man on special teams never slowed.
When the Cotton Bowl rolled around in January, Peterson claimed he had worked himself down into the 210-range in hopes of gaining a step of quickness as he worked through the NFL Combine and LSU’s Pro Day.
On Monday morning, Peterson checked in at 6-foot, 219-pounds, making his performance later that day all the more impressive.
The Patrick Peterson File
Arm Length: 32 inches
Hand Size: 9 1/4 inches
40-yard Dash: 4.34 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 6.58
Vertical Jump: 38 inches
Broad Jump: 10-foot-6
4.34 became the official time that Peterson took home, second-best among cornerbacks and tied for second-best among all players at the combine. His two runs were timed unofficially at 4.32 and 4.37.
“I feel swift the way I am. I feel quick and more fluid,” he said. “I don’t want to go out and kill myself trying to lose weight, because I have very little body fat. I believe I am good at the weight I am at.”
His 6.58 in the three-cone drill ranked eighth-best among all participants, and his broad jump of 10’6” ranked amongst the top 20.
Peterson, who said “it’s just a lot of guys talking” and that “it hasn’t come up” when asked about a possible move to safety, is now standing firm at the top of every credible draft board, the first defensive back to come off the board and a steal anywhere beyond the first few picks.
Peterson, who described himself as the total package at defensive back, is confident that he is the best cornerback available.
“My ball skills and toughness, and I can support the run,” said Peterson when asked what makes him better than prospects like Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara and Colorado’s Jimmy Smith. “I am an all-around cornerback, and that’s what I wanted to do coming out of college. I definitely want to continue that going into the NFL.”
There were losses mixed into the battles with the SEC tandem, but at the end of the day all Peterson wanted was more.
“It could have been even better if I played them each and every week, because in the NFL there is a Jones and Green every Sunday,” he said. “It was a fun experience. I got a chance to go up against Julio Jones three years straight and A.J. Green two years straight. Those guys help me elevate my game to the next level each time we played.”
As for Peterson’s fans back in Baton Rouge, the Florida native won’t soon forget his playing days in Death Valley, nor is he worried about any fallout in performance with his absence from the defense in 2011.
“I believe I left LSU in good hands with the great secondary guys there,” he said. “I just wanted to try and take my game to the next level and pursue an NFL career.”