Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, in just two seasons, is a two-time Pro Bowler. He made it to the Pro Bowl as a returner in 2011 and as a cornerback in 2012, a season in which he picked off seven passes.
The easy thing to say is that he is one of the top cornerbacks in the game, an elite cover guy.
A very comprehensive look at the tape by presnapread.com breaks down Peterson and his coverage assignments for each of the Cardinals' 16 games. It breaks down coverage assignments into shutdown plays, successful plays and failed coverages, regardless of the result of the play.
How did Peterson do? Quite well, but not as well as you might think.
According to this particular breakdown, Peterson had a 62.9 percent success rate, claiming that he "failed" on 116 plays in coverage.
Going back to the original question, whether he is elite, or how he compares to other of the league's top corners, like Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis. While the author did not bother to break down Revis' 2012 numbers (he only played in two game), he did give the same overall stats for Sherman. (He did break down Revis' 2011 coverages)
The results say that Sherman had a success rate in coverage of 81 percent, essentially coming to this conclusion:
Today he (Peterson) is a very, very good football player and an elite talent on special teams. However, he is not yet amongst the league's best cornerbacks. He is on a lower tier compared to Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis.
He did, though, note the variety of responsibilities Peterson had on defense. He sometimes lined up like a a safety. Other times he was in the middle of the defensive front, but then dropped back in coverage.
To be honest myself, I can't disagree. Peterson did get beat a few times last season. He did very well against some good receivers, but he did not shut them down.
At the start of last season, people were saying how Peterson was on the verge of becoming one of the league's top corners. He made huge strides, but he isn't there yet. I do think, though, he will get there. He will become that shut down guy you can put on an island.
Is he elite? He is awful close. He is among the best, but he is not right at the top quite yet.
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