Pro Day Tour: Peters Returns to Washington

Standout cornerback Marcus Peters, who was kicked off Washington's team, returned for the Huskies' star-studded pro day. Plus, the Packers had a scout at two other pro days as the annual scouting circuit has one of its last big days. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY)

Seattle — Marcus Peters was back in a familiar setting on Thursday, even though a return to Washington seemed unlikely months ago.

Nearly five months ago, Peters was dismissed from the Huskies football program after continued run-ins with coach Chris Petersen and the Huskies' first-year coaching staff. He was talented, but also a problem that needed to be dealt with.

"Everything I went through I was meant to go through," Peters said Thursday.

Peters was perhaps the most impressive of all the former Washington players who took part in the Huskies' annual pro day. The standout cornerback was welcomed back to work out for NFL scouts and front-office personnel that included Seahawks general manager John Schneider, San Francisco GM Trent Baalke, new Washington GM Scot McCloughan and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Peters is a likely first-round selection — perhaps by the Green Bay Packers at No. 30 if his off-field issues push him that far down — because of what he displayed: impressive, quick footwork and strong ball skills. At 6-feet, 190 pounds he has the size and speed that most teams are looking for in a cornerback.

And when teams ask why he was dismissed at Washington, Peters is straightforward.

"We talk about it and we move on," Peters said. "We're playing for the future."

Washington's indoor practice facility was packed with onlookers coming to see the Huskies' bounty of potential high draft picks. Peters and defensive tackle Danny Shelton are almost sure first-round selections. Linebackers Hau'oli Kikaha and hybrid linebacker/safety Shaq Thompson are likely second-day selections.

Shelton, Peters and Thompson only did individual drills at their positions, though Thompson did 28 reps on the bench after skipping that event at the Combine due to a thumb injury. Kikaha went through the full workout including running the 40-yard dash. He was sidelined for the physical testing at the Combine due to the flu. It didn’t go well — as fast as 4.87, according to a source — but didn’t look out of place doing linebacker drills.

"I wanted to run a good time but probably the last time I will have to run that thing," said Kikaha, who led the country with 18 sacks in the regular season last year.

While Peters' return drew much of the attention, equally watched was Thompson. He played linebacker for the majority of his college career, but also spent some time at safety and even played a little running back this past season.

That's led to difficulty defining what his position will be in the NFL. He's being looked at as either a weakside linebacker or strong safety, but running back is out of the picture. When asked to go through running back drills on Thursday, Thompson declined. He did go through drills with the linebackers and with the defensive backs.

"It felt like the Combine. I think I got all my nervousness out at the combine," Thompson said.

Shelton might end up being the highest draft pick of the four. At 338 pounds and with unique quickness, teams have been targeting Shelton's potential to be disruptive lining up either as a defensive tackle over the guard or as a nose tackle over the center.

Shelton said he hasn't had any visits with individual teams yet, but was expected to meet with Cleveland next week.

"I'm ready for whatever life gives me, but I'm definitely anxious right now to get out there," Shelton said.

Maryland

Maryland might have only one player drafted — receiver Stefon Diggs, who has been compared to veteran star Steve Smith. Diggs (6-0, 195) stuck with his 4.46 and 35-inch vertical from the Combine, then did what he does best — run routes and catch the ball. He’s considered a fifth-rounder but don’t be surprised if he goes much earlier in Day 3. In 2014, he was second-tam all-Big Ten with 62 receptions for 792 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games.

“(It wasn’t tough) at all,” Diggs said of performing in cold, windy conditions. “It doesn’t matter wherever the ball is, you better catch it.”

Keep in mind receiver Deon Long (6-0, 192). Long, who ran in 4.51 at the Combine, caught 51 passes for 575 yards and two scores as a senior. Also keep in mind nose tackle Darius Kilgo (6-3, 313) late in the draft. According to a source, he has had a predraft visit to the Packers. With 33 reps on the bench, he has no shortage of power. The three-year starter had a senior season of 43 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for losses. Apparently he’s a ball magnet with four fumble recoveries.

Bowie State

The weather was just as bad in Bowie, Md., which didn’t help underrated tight end Khari Lee’s workout. He was a three-time all-conference first-team selection who led the Bulldogs with 34 receptions for 389 yards in 10 games during a Division II All-American senior season.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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