The Cardinals focused on value over need in the 2011 draft and either good or bad will have to live…
CB Peterson expected to start right away
The club was content with any of four players with the fifth overall pick: Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller, Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, Georgia receiver A.J. Green and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.
It's unknown what order the team had those players in, but Peterson was the only one left on the board when the Cardinals' turn came. They aren't complaining.
"I like the way he plays tough and physical," said coach Ken Whisenhunt. "That's an attitude that we need to get better with defensively, and that certainly helps."
Whisenhunt typically doesn't hand starting jobs to rookies, but there's little doubt Peterson will be in the starting lineup when the season opens. He's a playmaker and he's tough.
Cornerback is not the team's greatest need, but Peterson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie give the Cardinals an impressive young duo.
"They know I'm bringing a fierce, competitive, confident young man," Peterson said. "I believe I'm all the way NFL-ready."
Peterson brings the added benefit of being a gifted returner. He was not only the SEC's defensive player of the year, but also the special teams player of the year.
He returned two punts for touchdowns and averaged 29.1 yards on kick returns.
The Cardinals already have a talented kick returner in LaRod Stephens-Howling, but Whisenhunt would like to use him more on offense in 2011. To give him rest, Peterson could take over.
Peterson also could eventually have a role as a punt returner.
"I think he could line up today and be a kick returner in the NFL," Whisenhunt said, "and be one of the best ones. As a punt returner, he certainly has the skill-set to do it, but we obviously want to see him do it."
At 219 pounds, Peterson is big for a cornerback, and some draft analysts think he might one day move to safety. But Peterson runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds and impressed the Cardinals with his ability to play the ball.
"He's fast, he's talented," defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. "One of the great things is when you watch him on film, he doesn't panic. You see some guys panic at the ball, bat it down. When the ball is in there, you see a subtle shift from 'I'm a DB to I'm a receiver' and go get it. Some guys can't do that."
CardinalFootballTalk.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Week 8 Strategy
Should you keep Fred Jackson or cut him? Should you cut Zac Stacy or trade him? Each team requires its own strategy based on different circumstances and Dr. Roto does his best to clarify your…Read More
Who's Hot? Week 8: Trevone, Pitt D, Kirby
The stud teams, players, coaches and trends from Week 8Read More
10 Rules For Night Shift Walleyes
Autumn walleye anglers turn their bows toward the launch ramp as the sun sets and evening temperatures begin to fall. That’s when Steve DeZurik begins his fishing shift.Read More
National Anthem Played with a Gun!
Musical targets? Yes, this guy plays the national anthem while shooting musical targets.Read More
The Haunted History of the White House
The Executive Mansion isn't just home to the First Family. It's also home to a variety of...ghosts.Read More