Two years into his NFL career, Patrick Peterson has more than lived up to the hype he generated after being selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
During his rookie season, the former LSU standout took the league by a storm with a record-tying four punt returns for touchdowns, all of which went for 80 or more yards.
But after making an initial trip to the Pro Bowl for his talents in the return game, Peterson came back in 2012 with an eye towards refining his skills as a cover corner.
Going up against the likes of Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Percy Harvin and Roddy White during the Cardinals’ 5-11 campaign, he did just that, finishing with 55 tackles and a team-high seven interceptions.
For his efforts, Peterson was voted back to Honolulu as a cornerback for the NFC, but the recognition apparently didn’t stop there.
This week, CBSSports.com columnist Pete Prisco ranked the top 10 players in the NFL under the age of 23, and the Cardinals’ multidimensional talent came in at No. 1.
1. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals — He is a special player and one of the best cover players in the league already. He can return kicks among the best in the NFL, but it’s his cover skills on the corner that make him truly special. He will be a perennial Pro Bowl player in the coming years.
Joining Peterson on Prisco’s list were Luke Kuechly (Panthers),Tyron Smith (Cowboys), Bobby Wagner (Seahawks), Michael Brockers (Rams), Fletcher Cox (Eagles), Stephen Gilmore (Bills), Trent Richardson (Browns), Josh Gordon (Browns) and Vick Ballard (Colts).