When Patrick Peterson was drafted by the Cardinals fifth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft he could not have asked for a better situation. In the secondary, he was surrounded by veterans to guide him in his rookie season. Veterans like pro-bowler Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes.
Peterson also was matched up against Larry Fitzgerald everyday in practice. While Fitzgerald taught Peterson lessons that the rookie will never forget, Peterson impressed Fitzgerald on and off the field.
"He (Peterson) is a real team guy," said the five-time pro-bowler Fitzgerald. "He works his tail off every single day at his craft," said Fitzgerald.
Peterson came in and had an immediate impact on special teams. He set an NFL rookie record with 699 punt return yards, and tied an NFL record with four punt return touchdowns.
Peterson had his ups and downs as a corner in 2011. Peterson finished 2011 with 64 tackles, 13 pass deflections and two interceptions. Fitzgerald believes that Peterson has all the tools to become an elite corner in the league.
"He's got great ball skills, good instincts, he'll come up and tackle you, he can press you, he is quick enough in and off coverage that he can break on any pass," said Fitzgerald.
Peterson has high expectations for himself and expects to one day be the best cornerback in NFL. "I feel like I could have done better (this season)," said Peterson. "Next year I feel like I will be a much improved football player," said Peterson.
Peterson will continue to improve with a full offseason playing alongside Wilson and Rhodes and playing against Fitzgerald.