Los Angeles Rams 90-Man Roster Preview: Cornerback Kevin Peterson

by Jake Ellenbogen
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The former undrafted rookie free agent out of Oklahoma State joined the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. He was originally with the Chicago Bears to start the 2016 preseason but he was signed and cut multiple times from the roster. The Rams scooped him up right before the season and signed him to their practice squad. That set up the Rams ability to sign him to a futures contract which they did.

The following season, Peterson just missed the cut but the team had decided to place him on the practice squad. Later on, in the season, the Rams called up Peterson and promoted him to the active roster. In his first start, he picked off Jimmy Garoppolo twice and made his presence known. While the Rams were looking forward to seeing him fight for a spot the next year, Peterson, unfortunately, suffered a season-ending injury.

Now, having recovered from all of the roadblocks in his way, Peterson will fight for a roster spot with the Rams 2019 roster. Let’s take a look at his chances to make that happen.

2018 Season

Kevin Peterson’s 2018 could not have been any more disappointing. The young cornerback tore his ACL in the preseason matchup versus the Ravens. Following his torn ACL, Sean McVay had some very important words to say in regards to losing Peterson according to Cam DaSilva of The Rams Wire:

“Really hate that for him because he’s a guy that’s continued to progress,” McVay said after practice. “He’s one of those guys that seems like he’s actively always getting his hands on the ball in practice and then he has those couple picks in the game last year against San Fran. So, it’s a shame. We feel bad for him, but he had good spirits. He’ll get his surgery and he’ll be back.”

It’s clear the Los Angeles Rams do value Peterson, otherwise, he wouldn’t be on the roster right now and would not have been given a contract. However, it’s going to be difficult for Peterson to fight off the rest of the cornerbacks. Aqib Talib was on the shelf for the majority of the season and Marcus Peters visibly battling injury in 2018. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Peterson to receive playing time. However, the torn ACL kept him sidelined for the year.

Roster Battle

Peterson will likely be going up against Dominique Hatfield, Donte Deayon and Darious Williams for a final cornerback roster spot if the Los Angeles Rams choose to keep six cornerbacks. Due to the fact, the Rams signed Troy Hill to a two-year deal and drafted David Long, it’s going to make things difficult to find a spot on this roster.

Peterson should have the advantage over Hatfield who despite not being as good as in fact played in way more games than Peterson. After Hatfield, you can look at last year’s rookie Darious Williams who at this point seems like a prime practice squad candidate. After that, Donte Deayon is left over and he’s someone that could really make a run at a job with the Rams. Deayon is arguably the most talented of the four in the hunt but after that, I would say Peterson is the second most talented.

Three Plays On Tape

This is a tough rep by Peterson on Amari Cooper who bites on a double move and gets seemingly eaten alive. Cooper does a great job to clear Peterson and high point the football in between a sea of Rams. Peterson was taken out of the play and out positioning. He will obviously need to do better than this if he wants to make a spot on the roster.

Peterson plays the run well here it’s a pitch play out of the gun and he reads it like a book. Peterson accelerates and takes a great angle to make a perfect form tackle on the ball carrier.

This is Kevin Peterson’s first career interception in week 17 of the 2017 NFL regular season. Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t see him or doesn’t take Peterson’s break on the ball seriously. Peterson makes him pay though with an impressive interception due to his ability to take a great angle and cut off the ball right in front of the receiver.

Biggest Question

Can Peterson stay healthy and ultimately get his opportunity to be on this roster moving forward?

You saw the above video, Peterson could not have ended the year on a better note. Two interceptions on Garoppolo was special and as previously mentioned, Sean McVay didn’t forget about that game. Peterson, unfortunately, is not in the best position to make the roster. He is really going to have to try and sell the coaching staff on the reasoning for keeping six cornerbacks.

With the addition of draft pick David Long and the re-signing of Troy Hill, Peterson is just not in a good spot right now for someone trying to make the final roster. That, however, doesn’t mean he has no chance. Peterson is going to need to use the preseason and training camp to his advantage moving forward.

2019 Outlook and Role

If Peterson is able to make the roster he is going to have to play a heavy special teams role. That is until the season starts welcoming injuries to key players. Then, Peterson will have an opportunity to do more than just special teams. Peterson likely has one more year of practice squad eligibility, so that is indeed an option if the two parties want to Kevin Peterson to stay there.

Chances of Making Final Roster

I gave a 50/50 shot to Donte Deayon, I’m going to do the same for Kevin Peterson. That experience in-game is important and Peterson has that, with Sean McVay I’ll add. In deeper, McVay spoke highly of Peterson after he was injured as mentioned above earlier on. It’s going to be tough but Peterson is still under 25-years-old and has some serious talent as well as experience to add to his resume.

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