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Saturday, May 7, 2011

With Patrick Peterson, Cards could be forming a dominant D

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was asked if he plans on creating his own island a la New York Jets shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis.

  • The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick.

    By Christian Petersen, Getty Images

    The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick.

By Christian Petersen, Getty Images

The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick.

"I don't want an island," the fifth overall selection in the second prime-time draft said. "I want a universe."

Peterson will have the chance to create an all-universe secondary in tandem with fourth-year cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie because Cardinals general manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt focused on value, not their glaring quarterback void.

The answer at quarterback could come in free agency with Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck or perhaps a trade for Philadelphia Eagles backup Kevin Kolb, if the price isn't deemed too steep.

In Peterson, the Cardinals got a playmaker who can help create a formidable shutdown duo on defense while upgrading their kick- and punt-return game.

"We had him really high up on our board," New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. "He's a unique talent. The guy's an explosive player. The Cardinals got a great player in Patrick Peterson."

The LSU corner has been compared with Green Bay Packers Pro Bowler and 2009 defensive player of the year Charles Woodson for his physical, ball-hawking prowess.

"I believe the cornerback position is the second most-needed position on any football team," Peterson said. "If you don't have a corner, anybody can throw the ball all over you."

As for teaming with Rodgers-Cromartie?

"It's going to be fun," Peterson said. "I'm definitely going to have plans sometime in the year for having the best secondary in the league.

"That's something I always set my sights on in any secondary I ever played. So I know this secondary is going to be special."

Some teams had the 6-2, 220 corner/returner rated as the best player in the draft, though Graves had Peterson — the cousin of former Cardinals cornerback Bryant McFadden and current Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss— as the fifth-rated player on Arizona's board.

"When you have a chance to get a player a lot of people feel like is the best player in the draft, you have to take those opportunities," Whisenhunt said.

After adding explosive Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams to compete with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, Arizona is now a veteran quarterback away from perhaps having the chance to return to the postseason after playing in Super Bowl XLIII before Kurt Warner retired in 2010.

"Peterson was my No. 1-rated player," NFLDraftScout.com analyst Rob Rang said. "Now Peterson can team with DRC on the other side, that's scary. With two long, strong corners, the Cardinals can go from last to first in the NFC West just on the strength of who's going to be able to pass the ball on them?"

Peterson has a confident presence that comes from all those family reunions matching up one-on-one with Moss and his younger brother, New York Giants receiver Sinorice Moss.

"I used to play street football all the time back home with my boys," Peterson said. "I know those guys are happy for me, and I know the first thing when I get back those guys are going to say, 'Street football finally paid off.' "


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