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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Nov 8, 2011 - 12:08 pm

Patrick Peterson is the league's best returner

Patrick Peterson has returned 19 punts this season, picking up 414 yards and three touchdowns.

Two of those touchdowns have won games for the Cardinals, and his average of 21.8 yards per return easily leads the league.

So maybe it should be no surprise that the Cardinals rookie is garnering recognition, including being named as the best kick returner by Chris Wesseling of

The explosive rookie has already tied the franchise's career record with three punt-return TDs, highlighted by a 99-yard score to beat the Rams in overtime. All three touchdowns have gone for more than 80 yards, leaving Peterson with a gaudy 21.8-yard average that will have punters avoiding him going forward.

Having a weapon like Peterson changes game plans, as teams will likely stop kicking towards him. That will lead to shorter punts and maybe more mistakes, giving the Cardinals better field position.

It's interesting to remember Peterson was drafted to play cornerback and not just return kicks, and the rookie is improving in that area too.

The fifth-overall pick out of LSU, the Cardinals appear to have a winner in this one.

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