Justin Bethel plans on impacting Arizona Cardinals as a cornerback, too
Selected in the sixth round of the 2012 Draft out of Presbyterian as a cornerback, Bethel has spent little time playing his natural position during his first two NFL seasons.
But as he heads into the offseason, that is supposed to change. As a guest on the Big Red Rage Thursday, Bethel said head coach Bruce Arians issued a challenge when they met at the end of the season.
"He was really up front with me, saying he wants me to step up into that cornerback role and just come into next year being prepared to make something happen and be a bigger role on defense," he said.
At 6-feet and 200 pounds, Bethel has good size for the position and is not lacking for athleticism, but even though he has the physical attributes, it is a big jump to go from special teams star to lock-down cornerback. He knows he still needs to improve in certain aspects of his game, including footwork, playing man-to-man coverage and locating the ball, but that's what the offseason is for.
"I believe in my ability," Bethel said. "When I'm in practice, I make a lot of plays. I do stuff that I know if I have to play in the game, I'll be ready for it.
"So I'm looking forward to it and making something happen."
As a senior in college a couple years ago, Bethel recorded 87 tackles, one sack and four interceptions while being named the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He's already made his mark at the professional level, but now it's time for him to take another step forward. Both he and the team want it to happen.
"They've been wanting me to grow as a corner, and as the season's gone on I feel like that's really been happening," he said. "So coming out next year, I'm looking forward to moving more toward the role of being a cornerback."
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Forbes: Larry Fitzgerald among most overpaid players in NFL
- Notes from the Nest: Aug. 20, 2014
- Cardinals linebacker Lorenzo Alexander defends Daniel Snyder but thinks Redskins should change name
- New Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga thrown right into the mix
- Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu practices for the first time this season
- Lyle Sendlein, Cardinals center - Wednesday August 20Lyle Sendlein talks about coming back from his injury and the loss of Darnell Dockett.
- Jake Plummer- Former Cardinals and Sun Devils quarterback - Wednesday August 20Jake Plummer says Johnny Manziel is just passionate about the game of football.
- Lorenzo Alexander- Cardinals linebacker - Wednesday August 20Lorenzo Alexander discusses having to step up to fill the voids left by injuries and free agents lea
- Bickley Blast - Wednesday August 20The NFL has a new problem on their hands, and it has to do with the Redskins.
- Larry Fitzgerald, AZ Cardinals WR - Wednesday August 20Doug & Wolf ask Fitz about the Cardinals offense and about his future in Arizona.