Usually it’s a coach that teaches players something about the game. For Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt it was a player that isn’t even on his roster that may have taught him the most valuable lesson of all.
In 2007 Whisenhunt and the Cards were faced with a dilemma, either draft for need or take the best player available. They opted for need, selecting offensive tackle Levi Brown, leaving Adrian Peterson on the board.
Although Brown has been a serviceable offensive lineman, Peterson became a superstar for the Minnesota Vikings solidifying their running game. It’s a mistake apparently the head coach learned from. At least that’s what wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald told Yahoo Sports Mike Silver.
“Whiz told me he learned his lesson with Adrian Peterson,” Fitzgerald said, referring to Arizona’s decision to select tackle Levi Brown, rather than the future All-Pro halfback, with the fifth overall pick in ’07. “If there’s an incredible athlete there, you take him, even if you don’t have a need. You find a place for him. It’s like the Vikings with Randy Moss(notes) [in 1998]. They had two star receivers in Cris Carter and Jake Reed; they didn’t need Randy. But he was the best player on their board, and it changed their team.”
Yes, by drafting what many believe is a surefire prospect in LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson it appears that Whisenhunt and the Cards front office has learned their lesson. Unfortunately that lesson was a lot like when a child who puts their hand on a hot stove. Sure, they won’t do it again, but it hurts like hell in the moment.
The Cardinals finally got their Peterson at No. 5, it just happened to be four years after their first chance. At least it turned out to be a learning experience.