Back in April 2011, the Arizona Cardinals had the fifth pick in the draft and a bevvy of needs.
Coming off a 5-11 season, the team needed help at quarterback, offensive line and secondary, and could have benefited from an improved pass rush, too.
The Panthers took QB Cam Newton from Auburn first, the Broncos selected Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller second, the Bills tabbed Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus third and the Bengals added Georgia receiver A.J. Green with the fourth pick.
The Cardinals were up, and according to Dave Birkett of the the Detroit Free Press, passed on at least one trade offer before taking cornerback Patrick Peterson out of LSU.
In a story detailing how Lions GM Martin Mayhew is willing to make big trades, Birkett recalls the deal that never happened.
In 2011, Mayhew tried to trade up from 13 to 5 to land Patrick Peterson, offering his first-, second- and fourth-round choices. Ultimately, the Arizona Cardinals wanted to stay put so they could take a player that’s now one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Lions ended up taking defensive lineman Nick Fairley from Auburn with their first-round pick and Boise St. receiver Titus Young with their second. Their fourth-round pick ended up being traded to the Seattle Seahawks, who took receiver Kris Durham from Georgia.
As for the Cardinals, they got a player who has been to three Pro Bowls in three seasons — once as a punt returner and twice as a cornerback.
Peterson has intercepted 12 passes in three seasons and has emerged as one of the NFL’s better defensive backs.
Sometimes teams benefit from trades. Often times they benefit more from the deals they don’t make.