When the Arizona Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson in the first round in 2011, he was expected to make an impact right away. He did, but in the return game. He even made the Pro Bowl as a returner. On defense, it was a struggle. He was flagged for penalties a lot and got beat by opposing receivers from time to time.
His play improved later in the year, but he still was not even at a level overall that would be considered an impact defensive player.
Coming into the 2012 season, however, there are higher expectations from fans and the coaches. But he is expect to step up. CSB Sports writer Pete Prisco lists Peterson as one of the players in the league who are ready to shine in 2012.
Yes, he flashed as a return man, but I think he will take a huge step forward as a cover corner this season. You saw more of it in the second half last season.
If in fact he is able to take steps forward in his defensive play, this will be huge for the Cardinals. Their defense stepped up in a big way in the second half of the season. Peterson developing as a true shutdown corner would do wonders to the team defense.
The defense already was poised to break out as an elite unit and the improvement of Peterson will be crucial.
With uncertainty on the other side of the field, having consistency from Peterson would go a long way.
We will see if he is up for the challenge.
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