Dec. 23, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA: Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) celebrates a play against the Chicago Bears at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: Is Patrick Peterson a Top 5 Cornerback?

Is Patrick Peterson a top five cornerback?

Unless I am being flagrantly fooled by that famous so called “Eye Test” you not only have to put Peterson in the top five, but you might have to consider him for the #1 spot. Yes, spit that Hot Pocket out and grab a seat. You have a few things to consider when you ask this type of question, like stats, confidence, defensive scheme, and skill set. It becomes even more relevant when you know the Arizona Cardinals are trying to get him signed to a new contract sooner rather than later.

In 2011, when Peterson was drafted, he came into a league that had become more passing oriented. Multiple receiver sets, less running and more teams were creating mismatches in coverage pulling more linebackers out and more nickel backs in. Some of the names at the time being thrown out there for best cornerback were Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson, Asante Samuel and Champ Bailey. Things have changed since then, and Peterson is one of the reasons as well as Richard Sherman. Sherman also was drafted in 2011, while New York Giants cornerback Stevie Brown in 2010 and Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward in 2012. I have compiled my list of the top five, and the players are:

5. Nnamdi Asomugha
4. Asante Samuel
3. Darrelle Revis
2. Richard Sherman
1. Patrick Peterson

Before you click on the next article let me explain. As stated there was a method to the madness and I believe you would agree or at least disagree respectfully. Peterson enters 2013 as my top cornerback mainly because some of the names mentioned when he came into the league aren’t the same and some not around anymore, at least until Charles Woodson signs or not.

Asomugha cracked the list in part because the 49ers defense took a stab at the skills he has shown in years past. Their scheme should help him get the type of one on one matchups he used to excel in, unlike his last two years in Philadelphia. Asomugha was only targeted 98 times from 2008-2010, so he can be a shutdown corner. Samuel, who has 50 career interceptions, was still as effective in 2012 for Atlanta as he was in Philadelphia. Going to another team that uses his zone prowess well, he showed he hasn’t lost much of a step but not anything mentally.

Revis missed the 2012 season, and I have him third now. Call me crazy, but I am not denying his skills, which, prior to tearing his ACL last year, were extremely sharp. However, it remains to be seen whether he can bounce back, and the unique contract he has set up (no guaranteed dollars) with Tampa Bay after being traded by the Jets shows the respect he has earned (the contract is worth $96 million) but also extreme caution on the Bucs part. That leaves two very good and very different-styled corner backs left Sherman and Peterson.

Both cornerbacks are big, as Peterson is 6’2’’ and Sherman comes in at 6’3’’. When you’re a tall corner you get hit with the, “Can he play safety?” question. However, both of them are great cover corners, and their height gives them an advantage over other cornerbacks who typically range around the 5’11″ area. The two were separated by only one interception (Patrick Peterson intercepted seven passes and Sherman intercepted eight), and Sherman also forced more fumbles (four) with Peterson having none. Yet Peterson is something that Sherman isn’t; a game-changer.

His ability to return punts is a crucial element to Peterson’s skillset. His ability to watch the field and catch the ball at the last second allowed him to be the only rookie selected to the 2011 All-Pro First Team as a punt returner. Peterson also set a record by running back four punts over 80 yards for touchdowns. He is also the youngest on this list by almost three years. I believe that his being used in punt returns and offense took from his concentration on defense at times.

It is hard enough to keep up with the best wide receiver on each team every game, but to also have your focus on avoiding tacklers can be draining, especially for cornerbacks. Typically, they are used more often on offense than say a wide receiver is used for coverage situations on defense. This is why I believe Josh Cribbs was being considered, at one point.

As for the confidence they all have it, as seen by Peterson’s growth and mentoring of friend and fellow teammate Tyrann Mathieu. Sherman has the mouth to match his while Revis and Asomugha have chips on their shoulders and want to get back to where they once were. Samuel is on the Super Bowl hunt with Atlanta maybe last year.

As for number one this is all based on assumption and some stats because as league changes so will this position. Less contact, less man coverage’s and less run plays factor in, also more plays being ran due to complex offenses like New England’s and Chip Kelly’s in Philly will dictate this as well. There could possibly be a different top cornerback for the next few years, but for now, it’s Peterson.


Next Cardinals Game View full schedule »
Monday, Sep 88 Sep7:20San Diego ChargersBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Cornerbacks NFL Patrick Peterson

  • Ben Peterson

    I’m sorry, but if you’re evaluating CBs, you cannot leave Charles Tillman off the list, he led the league in forced turnovers. Also, factoring in age and punt returning skills is not a measure of a great player at the position, after all, no one says that Devin Hester is one of the best WRs in the game, but he’s a great PR/KR. Peterson is one of the best secondary players in the league today, but he’s the fourth best CB, after Sherman, Revis (well, that one’s pending), and Tillman, in any order. That order may change, but that’s my opinion. Forced fumbles were basically dismissed in this article, but if you count them, Tillman leads all these CBs with 13 turnovers, next is Sherman at 12, then Peterson at 7. respectable numbers all.

    Again, Returning punts and age do not make a great cornerback, though Peterson is a great player. He could be first among all these players as pure football players, but not as a corner. In the same way that Percy Harvin is a good/great receiver, but one of the best football players in the NFL.

    So in summary: is Peterson a top-5 CB? Hell to the yeah. is he the best? Hell to the no.

    • Baily Deeter

      Fair point. My list is:

      5. Tim Jennings
      4. Charles Tillman
      3. Patrick Peterson
      2. Darrelle Revis
      1. Richard Sherman.

      Tillman forced 10 fumbles; that’s unheard of. Jennings is also a difference-maker, so I have him in. I don’t think Peterson is #1, but he’s a great CB.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Hciii

      Yes definitely fair points. I don’t disagree with your
      position with forced fumbles as Tillman has an uncanny way of doing it his
      entire career but only 3ints last year was a factor for me, but Tim Jennings
      had a good ration 5ff and 9ints. Petersons age also plays a factor because of
      his contractual situation, however when it comes to the two Bear teammates and
      other older cornerbacks they are playing for either more money or a ring. I do
      however believe Peterson will become a better corner than Sherman in the long
      run because as your point about Devin Hester is relevant Sherman started his
      career as a receiver at Stanford and Russell Wilson isn’t throwing to him deep.
      The more your on the field the more your worth , yet I do believe this is bad
      for Peterson . I do agree Peterson needs more forced fumbles but fourth is too
      low like you said Revis is pending.

      • Ben Peterson

        I’m sorry, I was referencing the fact that no one is saying that Hester is a great WR because of his return skill, I think that if Peterson catches Sherman it will be because something happened to Sherman, and was saying that Peterson’s return stats do not translate to the cornerback position.

        And shouldn’t the fact that Sherm started out as a WR be a positive to him, seeing that he still has a ton of upside?

  • Edgar Valenzuela

    I agree with all of them except for Asomugha he was terrible in Philadelphia, I think he’s way overrated.

    • Baily Deeter

      Asomugha is in a great system in SF. He’s not close now, but he’ll be great in the future.

    • Ben Peterson

      He definitely wasn’t overrated when he was in Oakland; he was better than Revis. He might get back to form with San Fran.

      • Edgar Valenzuela

        He’s had 15 interception in his entire career… Patrick Peterson has 7 in 2 seasons.. I think Joe Haden is better than Asomugha

        • Edgar Valenzuela


        • Ben Peterson

          There were a few years where he only had 30 passes thrown his way, that’s no fluke, Alphabet soup was a better shutdown corner than Revis has been.

  • si1ver

    Tillman, Revis, Sherman are all better than him right now, maybe Haden, Brown, Bailey too. Webb is up there and Jennings had a great year. Peterson by far has more upside than any corner in the NFL though. Some of his INTs were amazing but some were because teams were throwing at him. PP also gave up about 6 TDs iirc.


    Top 10 corner definitely top 4-5 maybe. He can be #1 if he puts in the work.

    • Baily Deeter

      Tillman and Peterson are close, but none of the other guys you mentioned are. Tim Jennings is up there, but Peterson is more talented and has put up good numbers. Also, he’s only played two years.

      • Ben Peterson

        Haden’s up there, and Bailey was the gold standard there for a while, but I would agree that Peterson is better than them (though anyone who thinks that Champ Bailey is NOT headed to Canton is just ignorant).

        • Baily Deeter

          Agreed. Champ Is declining but has had a great year.

    • Ben Peterson

      I wouldn’t say that he has “by far” the most upside, though he has tons of upside. I think that Richard Sherman still has quite a bit of upside, seeing as this was only his fourth year playing the position, where most other DBs are playing at that position for up to seven or eight years before entering the league.