Patrick Peterson Thrilled to be with Cardinals: “The weather is wonderful…we’re definitely destined to be great one of these days.”May 2, 2011 – 8:15 am by Michael Bean
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the only thing that’s going to keep Patrick Peterson from becoming a successful NFL player is an unfortunate string of injuries. Last Thursday night during the first of three days of the 2011 NFL Draft, the former LSU shutdown cornerback was taken by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 5 overall pick. Frankly, the Cardinals have to be counting their lucky stars that Peterson fell into their lap. Sure, Carolina, Denver, Buffalo and Cincinnati — the four teams who picked before Arizona — all made defensible decision with their selections. But let’s face it, nobody was going to question if any of the first four teams had selected Peterson, and that includes the Panthers at No. 1 despite their very real need to proactively search for their quarterback of the future. Anyway, the bottom line is the Cardinals got one heck of a talent, and Peterson heads to a warm weather climate where there’s a great coaching staff in place, two super star veteran presences — Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Wilson — that will be a great influence on him in different but equally effective ways, and a chance to be ‘the guy’ from day one in a wide open division.
Peterson joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix to talk about his experience at the draft this weekend, hearing all the pundits and fans give the Cardinals a unanimous ‘A’ for selecting him, how he’d describe his game to those new fans of him out west that might not have seen him play much during college, how he considers himself a shutdown corner that wants to line up against other team’s No. 1 wide receivers each week, if he was surprised to be picked by the Cardinals considering he hadn’t been asked to visit them leading up to the draft, how it was the San Francisco 49ers who courted him most visibly and interestedly, the support team leaders Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Wilson have already expressed about the pick, how he’s eager to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the two star veterans — particularly Fitzgerald who he’ll get to face off against in practice each day, teaming up with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to form what he thinks could eventually be the best CB tandem in the league, and his desire to continue playing special teams at the next level as an electrifying kickoff and punt returner.
On the Cardinals receiving a consensus ‘A’ grade for their selection of Peterson with the fifth pick in this year’s draft:
“It was a wonderful opportunity presented to me by the Bidwell family. You know, those guys gave me the benefit of the doubt to bring me in here to make this team better. That’s definitely my goal — to come in and help make this defensive secondary that much better; and we want to be the best one of these days when it comes down to it.”
On how he would describe his game to those Cardinals out west that might not have seen too much of him during his collegiate career at LSU:
“Physical, swagger, confidence. You’ve just got to have that about you; you’ve just got to have that extra ‘uh’ in your step. You’ve just got to want to be the best each and every day because you never know who’s coming out for your job, or even who’s trying to embarrass you on national T.V. I know a lot of guys don’t want to be embarrassed on national T.V. because there’s more than multi-million people that are definitely tuned in.”
If he considers himself more of a shutdown corner or a cover corner:
“I consider myself as a shutdown corner, a guy that looks to take your No. 1 receiver away.”
On him not visiting the Cardinals in the weeks and months leading up to the draft:
“I didn’t, I didn’t. And that’s what surprised me the most about it. But Coach Whisenhunt told me you’ve got to kind of play that low-key role within this draft in knowing the guys you want to take.”
If it was in fact the San Francisco 49ers that expressed the most interest in him pre-draft:
“It definitely was the San Francisco 49ers, but now I’m going to play those guys twice a year, and hopefully we’re going to make them pay.”
On seeing the Cardinals-Packers playoff game several years ago because of his relationship with then-Cardinals CB Bryant McFadden:
“Oh man, that was a great experience but I never thought this would be my home. I was in that stadium watching him run around and watching the Cardinals pull off a memorable and a high-scoring game. But there’s no place I would rather be. The weather is wonderful, we have a great team, we’re definitely destined to be great one of these days.”
On the support already expressed by stars Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Wilson about the Cardinals selecting him:
“I mean, both of guys have been there and done that. Like I said with Larry, he’s definitely a guy that’s going to have me prepared and ready to rise to each and every occasion that is presented to me. He’s the best in the game, and I want to be the best someday. So by me going up against the best each and every day, him helping me get technically sound and helping me be a relentless guy that wants to be great each and every day, that’s an opportunity that I love and can’t turn down. And to be with A-Dub behind me, a guy that’s been in the league 11 years I believe, I mean he’s been there, he’s worked with a lot of corners. But I want to be different, I want to be the best he’s ever worked with so he don’t have to worry about me; he can just roam the field and go out and make plays.”
If he’s had a chance to talk to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie yet:
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet. I’m going to get his number here in a minute, and hopefully I can pick his brain. He came in as a rookie and he played right away, and that’s something I want to do as well. He knows the system like the back of his hand, he’s been in big-time situations, he’s made bigtime plays. So with me and him teaming up, it’s going to be definitely going to be one of the best secondaries, one of the best corner tandems in the league, because he’s a competitor, and I’m a competitor. We both want to be great. And that’s the beauty of it. When you have two guys that want to be great, the sky’s the limit.”
On his ability as a punt and kick returner, and the lack of fear he displays in those departments:
“If you have fear on the punt return or the kick return, you don’t belong back there. You definitely have to be a fearless guy, you got to be the guy that’s willing to take that hit — whether that’s sacrifice and not taking a fair catch and kind of taking the kill shot. Sometimes that’s what it takes — you taking a chance. And that’s the whole beauty about it as well, taking chances with the punt return. But I want to come here and contribute bigtime as a punt returner or even at the kickoff return as well, because I don’t want to just take the ball away from the opposing offense, I want to put my offense in good position as well, because that’s what wins ball games.”
So he’s expressly interested in returning punts and kicks?
“Oh yeah, no problem. Because me being an offensive guy coming out of high school, I just love being in the end zone. That feeling is just remarkable.”