How much of a gamble is Marcus Peters?

From the Truman Sports Complex

During the 2014 college football season Marcus Peters was a hothead, a loose cannon, a bad attitude wearing No. 21 with the University of Washington Huskies.

The Chiefs vetted him and decided he was worth the No. 18 selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.

So how much of a gamble did John Dorsey and Andy Reid take when they decided Peters was their man?

“We did extensive research in regards to this person and we talked to his coaches, his former coaches,” Dorsey said late Thursday night as the first round wrapped up. “Listen, you know what the kid is: competitive. He’s a very competitive kid.

“I do not (see it as a risky pick). Not after seeing the kid. You guys have known me long enough; if I didn’t think he would fit in the culture or the environment of this community or the organization, he would be here.”

Any of the 256 players selected in this year’s draft, or any other year for that matter, is a gamble. Every single one of them is a roll of the dice. From this year’s Jameis Winston at No. 1, to the Mr. Irrelevant selection at No. 256 – it’s all a crap shoot.

All a team can do is employ evaluators that know what they are looking for, and people to investigate the potential picks. The Chiefs have both. Dorsey said they talked with 15 to 20 people specifically about Peters, including the current coaching staff at Washington under Chris Petersen and the former staff of Steve Sarkisian, who is now at the University of Southern California as head coach.

When all that was said and done, Dorsey and Reid had one description of Peters: competitive.

Dorsey: “He’s competitive.”

Reid: “I don’t want to get rid of any of that competitiveness. I don’t want him to back off from bump and run. I love the way he plays it. He’s going to get up and challenge you. Is there going to be a penalty for that? Yeah, there’s going to be a penalty … I don’t want to take that edge off him. I just want him to be able to handle it the right way.”

One man’s definition of competitive is another man’s undisciplined behavior. Naturally, every coach wants players with high levels of competitiveness. Frankly, that should be a given with any man coming into the NFL. If he does not possess that mentality, his stay in pro football will be short.

But how does the following translate into Marcus Peters being competitive?

  • December 27, 2013 – interim Huskies head coach Marques Tuiasosopo suspended Peters for the first quarter of the Fight Hunger Bowl against Brigham Young University. The stated reason was “academic” issues.
  • September 6, 2014 – called for what Petersen said was a “stupid” personal foul penalty against Eastern Washington University when he head-butted an opposing receiver, Peters threw a sideline tantrum when he was lifted from the game. He chucked his helmet and gloves and was very verbal with assistant coaches that approached him.
  • September 13, 2014 – Peters was suspended for the game against the University of Illinois by Petersen for his actions the previous week.
  • November 1, 2014 – During a game against the University of Colorado, Peters got into a verbal dispute with an assistant coach on the sideline during the game.
  • November 4, 2014 – Peters was absent from the Huskies Tuesday practice session.
  • November 5, 2014 – During Wednesday’s UW morning practice, Peters got into another argument with an assistant coach. Later that day, he was called into Petersen’s office for a conversation; Peters did not react well and “blew up” with his head coach.
  • November 6, 2014 – Petersen announced Peters was dismissed from the UW football program.

Peters was the fourth player thrown off the team by Petersen in his first season as head coach in Seattle. There were five other situations when he suspended players.

“He might have been caught up in the culture of the old regime that recruited him into a new regime,” Dorsey said. “Sometimes it doesn’t always mesh properly.”

Near as we know, Peters has not had trouble with the law; apparently his only problems have involved academics and a new coaching staff.

Competitive or undisciplined? It’s a worthy question to ask about Marcus Peters, and one that the cornerback must answer before anyone can certify the Chiefs decision as anything more than the ordinary NFL Draft gamble.