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INDIANAPOLIS — There are plenty of reasons why LSU Patrick Peterson figures to be a top-five pick in the upcoming draft:
- Playing in the rugged SEC, a conference with first-round-caliber receivers such as Julio Jones of Alabama and A.J. Green of Georgia, he surrendered only one touchdown this past season (to Jones).
- Just last week, he said he ran a 4.29 40-time in advance of his Combine workouts this coming Tuesday.
- Claiming to have been working out at his father's training facility in Boca Raton, Fla., since "coming out the womb," he is a lean, mean CB machine with just seven percent body fat.
Did we mention his blue-chip bloodlines (Steelers CB Bryant McFadden is a cousin on his mother's side)? Or that he showed last season he is a top-flight punt returner, leading the nation in that category?
"I'm an all-around cornerback," said Peterson, who indicated that his ball skills, toughness and run support set him apart from the CB pack.
He also is a diplomat, as evidenced by his response to a question about who was tougher to defend between Jones and Green.
"That's a tough question," he said. "I really don't want a tick either of them off."
But as impressive as anything about Peterson — who first realized he had No. 1 pick potential midway through his junior season after friends kept asking him if he was going to come out early — is the player he picked to be his pro football role model.
"Charles Woodson," he said. "He can play every position. Safety, dime, corner. … He'd play defensive tackle if they asked him.
"I would love to play on a team with a veteran like him who is so great as far as teaching the ropes, doing things like studying film."
The diplomat came out again in Peterson when a Cleveland-based scribe asked him if he'd like to play with rising young CB Joe Haden.
"I would love to play with anyone," he said.
And there's no doubt there are plenty of teams who would love him to play for them.