With the off season continuing that means the "best players in the league" rankings will continue. This is a continuation of the Pro Football Focus 101 best players in the NFL right now. Evan Mathis (98) and Calais Campbell are already on the list, and two more Arizona Cardinals join them, in the top 40 players in the NFL.
40. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals
Carson Palmer is another player whose case rests on one season of obscene play. It's tough to oversell just how good Palmer was in 2015 before injuring a finger and having the worst playoff performance from a quarterback PFF has ever graded. In that Arizona passing attack, Palmer had the league's highest average depth of target, and his expected inaccuracy rate given the passes he was attempting should have been the highest in the league.
Much is made of what Palmer has become in Arizona, but Renner hits on something important, Palmer is finally in a place that plays to his strengths and hides his weaknesses. The Cardinals have surrounded him with talent that assists Palmer in attacking down the field, but also has given him security blankets in Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson and to an extent Andre Ellington. Palmer's career renaissance may be too little too late in terms of personal accolades, but he still has the chance to get a ring, and that is more than most expected of him post Cincinnati.
32. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
At his best, Patrick Peterson is one of the league's top shutdown corners, or as close as anybody can get to that term in today's NFL of pass-happy rules. He typically tracks the best receiver an offense has, and this past season when doing that, he allowed just 50 percent of all passes thrown his way to be caught (including playoffs) and was beaten for just three touchdowns, two of which came in the postseason and one of which was a Hail Mary.
This one is interesting because he was ranked 32, and there were some names ahead of him that would probably raise some eyebrows amongst Cardinals fans. Harrison Smith of the Vikings is 29, Travis Frederick of the Cowboys is 27 and Ndamukong Suh is 26. Peterson's play did not have the peaks and valley's of years past, and he is close to reaching the level of play that many expected of him out of LSU. Peterson is a special player in this league, and while 32 may seem a little low to most, myself included, it shows the strides Peterson has made overall.
The last update will be Friday, we'll see if one more Arizona Cardinals player makes the list.