Patrick Peterson was considered perhaps the best player in the entire 2011 NFL Draft. this is why the Arizona Cardinals were thrilled when he fell to number five and the team was able to select him with their first pick in the draft. His ability to make plays on defense and on special teams made him a doubly intriguing player.
In his NFL regular season debut, he already made an impact with a spectacular play on special teams, returning a punt 89 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals' game against the Carolina Panthers. The play gave the Cardinals a 28-21 lead and ended up being the deciding scoring play.
According to him, he was just doing his job.
Since joining the team, Peterson said that he hasn't "felt like a rookie."
"These guys brought me in here to make plays," said Peterson after the game. "That's my duty, come out here and make play -- not only for the defense but special teams as well."
He was picked on a bit on defense, getting beat more than once, but then again, the entire team did. Cam Newton scorched them with 422 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Ken Whisenhunt has been impressed with the rookie so far, and rightfully so. What stands out to the Cardinals coach "is his maturity and his belief in himself. "
Despite the maturity Peterson apparently has, he almost made a very immature mistake on his return. He started his celebration while about the 25-yard line and almost got caught from behind before leaping into the endzone for the score.
If you are as fast as he is, I guess you can afford to do it.
Even so, this will likely be just the first of many highlights Cardinals fans will see this year and in the seasons to come.
Panther's coach Ron Rivera obviously didn't think it was a great play. He said his guys assumed Peterson was going to let the ball drop and so they ran past it so they could down it deep. He also thought his players let up on the play, "I think somebody expected someone else to make the play, but we will see on tape."