Since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals as the ﬁfth overall pick, there have been high expectations of Patrick Peterson, the cornerback out of LSU. He has been considered the "next great shutdown corner" and compared to New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Hit the jump to see how they compared in week one of each of their rookie seasons.
In week one of Peterson's rookie season, he faced a rookie quarterback coming off a Heisman Trophy/National Championship college season in Cam Newton. His assignment was to cover receiver Steve Smith who was coming off the worst season season he's had, other than his rookie season, in his ten year career. Smith was listed as the number one receiver on the Carolina depth chart. The Carolina Panthers were the worst team in the NFL last season (emphasis on last season).
Revis faced a very different opponent in week one of his rookie season in the 2007 New England Patriots. The Patriots were led by, four time Pro Bowler, three time Super Bowl Champion, and two time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady. (Those were the accomplishments at that time) Revis was slated to cover a slot receiver who was newly
acquired from Miami for a second round pick, Wes Welker.
On September 11, 2011, Steve Smith had eight receptions for 178 yards (32 percent of last year's receiving yards) and two touchdowns (equals his total receiving touchdowns from last year) against the Cardinals. Peterson was not responsible for the 77 yard touchdown pass to Smith as he was sent on a blitz. He was however picked on for
most of the afternoon by the rookie quarterback who was supposed to be "inaccurate".
Eventually the fourth quarter came and Patrick Peterson hit a home run with an 89 yard punt return for a touchdown which would give the Cardinals a 28-21 lead and became the eventual ﬁnal score.
Revis, in 2007, held Wes Welker to 6 catches, 61 yards and no touchdowns in an eventual loss to a team at would go undefeated until losing in the Super Bowl. He also recorded seven tackles to Peterson's ﬁve. The Jets lost that game 38-14.
On the surface it may look like Peterson doesn't match up to Revis, but let's not forget, Coach Whisenhunt game planned to stop the run putting Patrick in man coverage with no help for most of the game. The Cards won and it worked. The Jets likely game-planned to try and slow down Brady and the passing game. They lost and it didn't work.
There are literally thousands of variables that go into how a player performs and realistically it is very difﬁcult to compare or predict how good a player will be based on their opening week performance. If that were the case, we would guess that Cam Newton will be the best quarterback of all time seeing as he statistically had the best
performance ever for a quarterback during his ﬁrst start.
I don't think any of us believe that will happen.