Washington cornerback Marcus Peters is talented, but his draft status has been clouded by off-field issues as well as his dismissal from the team in November by Huskies coach Chris Petersen.
Peters reiterated Wednesday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" that "immature mistakes" led to his dismissal, adding, "I didn't take well to the coaching change." Petersen replaced Steve Sarkisian, who left for USC after the 2013 season.
Regardless of the mistakes, Peters said he thinks he is the best corner in the draft, and two NFL Media analysts said he would be a good fit for the New Orleans Saints at the No. 13 pick.
Taking Peters at No. 13 could be a bit of a reach. He's projected as a first-round pick in only two of the four NFL.com mock drafts, and those mocks have him going at No. 20 to the Eagles and No. 21 to the Bengals. However, Casserly says the Saints have a big need at cornerback and should be interested in Peters (5-foot-11 5/8, 197 pounds), Casserly says, adding that Peters would be a "huge upgrade" for the Saints opposite Keenan Lewis.
"I like this guy," Casserly said. "I thought his speed was a little off from what I thought he played. He ran a 4.53 at the combine; I think he plays faster than that. I like his ability to press. I think he's physical. I think he's athletic. I think he plays the run well."
Casserly did have a slight concern.
"You don't see a lot of man-to-man coverage with him on the tape," he said. "But in the combine drills, he was excellent in his ability to turn and run … so I don't know why he can't play man."
Fellow analyst Curtis Conway, a former NFL wide receiver, is another Peters booster and could see the Saints taking him with the 13th pick. "I want a complete guy, and Marcus Peters gives me that," Conway said.