Patrick Peterson had many fans dismayed in 2014. No one really knew what was going on with the former #5 overall pick, and many believed his success and his reputation had gone to his head. Following the Cardinals being bounced out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round, the news was shed.
Peterson was battling Type 2 Diabetes.
He swore to bounce back in 2015, now knowing how to combat his disease. And he did just that. Peterson shut down some of the top NFL receivers limiting guys like A.J. Green and Antonio Brown, to less than 30 yards receiving while he trailed them. He finished his 2015 season with a pair of interceptions (including one in the playoffs), and four forced fumbles. That earned him his fifth Pro Bowl bid, and his third All-Pro since coming into the league in 2011.
USA Today published their Top 10 Corners in the league (full list here), and no one topped the Cardinals star Cornerback. They noted how much he slimmed down, and how the Cardinals changed their approach with his play, having him shadow the top wide receiver less in the first half, and have him follow him more in the second.
Here's the full description:
Peterson is the closest thing you’ll find to a shutdown corner in today’s NFL. After a disappointing 2014, a slimmed-down Peterson bounced back and produced a career season. He did not follow around No. 1 receivers for full 60-minute games; instead, he typically played his normal role in the first half and then started shadowing the top receiver in the second half. Arizona put too much on Peterson’s plate in prior seasons. He was often left on an island thanks to an aggressive, blitz-heavy scheme. The Cardinals are still blitzing, but not having to track superstar receivers for entire games has allowed the 25-year-old to conserve energy throughout games.
Peterson is the most athletically-gifted corner in the league. Last year, his technique finally caught up. Peterson’s footwork has been refined, which allows him to stick with receivers with elite change of direction ability.
USA Today noted that the rankings were based mainly on film study, with statistics and the players reputation playing a limited role in the grading.
They also mentioned the fact that Peterson still excels at Press Man Coverage, despite having lost weight.
The only negatives USA Today had to say about Peterson was that he's still less effective as a Zone Coverage corner, although they mention he is getting better, and that he struggles to maintain balance with the quicker receivers, albeit that they saw less of that than in previous seasons.
The second player mentioned on their list is Richard Sherman, the man many put in conversation with Peterson when they talk about who the best Corner is in the league.
Do you think USA Today hit it on the nail? Or is there someone else in the league you would put ahead of Peterson?