Panthers getting up-close look at LSU's Patrick Peterson

Ron Rivera is going to collect frequent flier miles this in preparation for the draft as the Carolina Panthers canvas the nation to help them determine what to do with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

The first-year coach was in Baton Rouge, La., today for the LSU pro day, getting an up-close look at cornerback Patrick Peterson, who some consider to be the best prospect in the draft. According to the New Orleans Times Picayune, Rivera dined with Peterson Sunday night.

It’s expected Rivera will likely attend a private workout for Auburn quarterback Cam Newton later this week, and there are more possibilities to investigate, including Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has a pro day Thursday.

It’s interesting that the Panthers are doing their homework on Peterson when you consider a cornerback has never been drafted No. 1 overall in the modern era, according to ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas. The highest-drafted cornerback in the modern era is Shawn Springs, who was chosen No. 3 overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 1997.

Let’s go back and look at the 2007 draft when Oakland’s Al Davis complicated the Raiders’ problems by drafting quarterback JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall. Next to go was wide receiver Calvin Johnson and then left tackle Joe Thomas, players who have turned into excellent selections for their respective teams. Minnesota drafted Adrian Peterson No. 7 overall. Darrelle Revis didn’t go until No. 14 to the New York Jets. I think it’s safe to say Revis is in the same class as Johnson, Thomas and Peterson, and no one would be second-guessing the pick now had he gone No. 1.

If the Panthers believe Peterson is the best cornerback to come out since Revis, then by all means he is worthy of discussion. Shutdown corners are difficult to come by.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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