Former Washington cornerback Marcus Peters, arguably the most talented man-to-man cover corner available in the 2015 NFL Draft, has taken full blame for the circumstances of his dismissal from the UW program last fall. And he'll do the same next week at the NFL Scouting Combine when coaches and scouts quiz him on their concerns about his character.
"I don't blame (UW coach Chris Petersen) for anything. All I can blame is myself, because I made those decisions and I have to live with them," Peters told USA Today. "Now I'll have to man up and I've got to answer these questions in interviews, and all I can do is sit there and answer truthfully and honestly."
Peters detailed a variety of transgressions that ultimately led to his ouster from the program -- from a sideline tantrum in September, to tardiness for a team meeting. Under a previous coaching staff, Peters acknowledged a failed drug test for marijuana when he was a freshman in 2011, and addressed his suspension from the offseason program following an academic issue last year. But he refuted a report that he choked an assistant coach as the final trigger for his dismissal.
"If I choked somebody, somebody's going to press charges on me and I've got a mugshot and it's open to the public, man," Peters said.
An NFL general manager told USA Today that based strictly on film, Peters is the top cornerback available in the draft.
"If you're going to take him, you better make sure you do your homework and feel comfortable with everything," the GM said. "But talent-wise? He's a first-round talent. I don't know if he's a top-10, but there's not a lot of great corners in this draft either."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has also noted the absence of depth available in the draft at the cornerback position, a factor which could compel some teams to give Peters a closer look. Yet, the mix of Peters' prolific talent and questions about his temper and attitude combine to scatter opinions about his draft status. Two NFL Media analysts have Peters being drafted in the first round in their mock drafts, as high as No. 10 overall to the St. Louis Rams, while the early-entry junior is nowhere to be found in the first-round mock draft of two others.
Peters said Petersen has invited him to participate in Washington's pro day event this spring.