Patrick Peterson was the top player on Mel Kiper's Big Board for the 2011 NFL Draft but the Arizona Cardinals who drafted the LSU cornerback with the fifth overall pick had him ranked fourth. According to a report by Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers, the four guys ahead of Peterson were all taken off the board.
"They would have taken defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, outside linebacker Von Miller, receiver A.J. Green or cornerback Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick," Somers wrote about the Cardinals NFL Draft plans.
There aren't many times in life when being picked fourth for a team is a good thing but when it comes to the NFL Draft, it's a pretty high honor and the Cardinals front office is thrilled according to their public comments.
"I like the way he plays physical and tough, and that's an attitude we need to get better with defensively," Cardinal's coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic. "When you look at that spot, were we enticed (to trade), but when you have a chance to get a player that a lot of people feel like was the best player in the draft, you have to take those opportunities. Our goal is to not be drafting this high again for a long time."
Peterson is likely to start at corner and will get an immediate chance to return kicks and could also return punts, Whisenhunt said.
Peterson was named as the best defensive player in college football in his junior year at LSU. He is related to NFL players Bryant McFadden, Sinorice Moss and Santana Moss and is described as a driven player with no known character issues. At LSU he racked up seven interceptions and 135 tackles in 39 games for the Tigers.
"It's going to be fun to be an Arizona Cardinal. I know Larry [Fitzgerald] is definitely going to get me ready to play games on Sundays," Peterson told reporters on a conference call after the draft.
Welcome to Arizona, Mr. Peterson. The Cardinals defense needs all the help you can bring.