It would be fun if we could debate the Cardinals fist selection in the 2011 draft, but there really is no debate.
The Cardinals had no choice but to select Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall choice. Peterson wasn’t only the best player in this draft, he was the best fit for what ails the Cardinals the most – and that is stopping the pass.
A ridiculous number of wideouts — seven — put up 100-yard receiving games against Arizona last season. Seven! Mark Clayton of the St. Louis Rams had 10 catches for 119 yards, Louis Murphy of the Oakland Raiders had 5 catches for 119 yards, Mike Williams of the Seattle Seahawks had 4 catches 105 yards, Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings had 9 catches for 126 yards, Seattle’s Williams again with 11 catches 145 yards, Dwayne Bowe from the Kansas City Chiefs had 6 catches 109 yards and Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys had 6 receptions 115 yards.
Bottom line, Arizona couldn’t stop the pass or the run last season. The Cards defense gave up 434 points, ranking 30th in the league. They also gave up 373.6 yards per game, ranking 29th in the league. This team needed defensive help in the worst way. And those stats should tell you all you need to know about why Peterson was the perfect pick for Arizona.
The truth is that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not a number one, shutdown cornerback. He is good but not great. This pick of Peterson will make him better because now he doesn’t have to cover the top receiver. And in this day and age of the National Football League, where teams are throwing the ball an astounding 60% of the time, you need two good cornerbacks to survive.
Peterson was beat for one touchdown last season in the SEC. Just one. He will come in and make an immediate impact for Arizona, which is exactly what you have to have from a pick that high. Now Arizona has a solid cornerback tandem and that will make things difficult for NFC West offensive coordinators.