Instead of addressing quarterback, which appeared to be the primary concern in Arizona, the…
Peterson solidifies the secondary in Arizona
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
Week 8: Super Sleepers
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risk! Tampa Bay…Read More
Watch: Sailfish Goes Psycho!
Check out this classic video of Dan Larson battling an acrobatic sailfish on a trip to the world-famous Tropic Star Lodge in Panama.Read More
BOMBS AWAY: ISIS BEFORE AND AFTER AIRSTRIKE
Photographer Bulent Kilic captured these amazing images of ISIS members who were on the very wrong end of an allied bombing in Turkey.Read More
TBT: Pumpkin Carving With A Handgun
While many hunters are focused on pursuing big game in late October, it’s also time to make sure you’re ready for Halloween, and specifically trick-or-treaters. In this throwback Thursday video,…Read More
Sullivan weighs seriousness of concussions
John Sullivan has suffered five concussions in his seven-year career, but he doesn’t believe his future is “in doubt.” He weighs the severity of the concussions against the number of them.Read More