The future of Patrick Peterson has been a hot topic of debate for Cardinals fans since his troubled comments years ago. Many fans think that he has nothing left and either needs to move to safety or move on altogether. While there may be merit to that, given his performance the last two years, Steve Keim would need to work some serious magic to make any type of improvement. Let’s detail the Arizona Cardinals options at cornerback that aren’t Patrick Peterson.
Every year the NFL has a whirlwind of players that become available through release, etc. This year is no exception as there are some very interesting names on this list. A.J. Bouye, D.J. Hayden, Ronald Darby, Terrance Mitchell, Xavier Rhodes, and more! Now after these names, the age tends to go up with guys like Josh Norman, Richard Sherman, Jason McCourty, Jonathon Josephy, and Tramon Williams.
To me, the Cardinals would have to shoot for one of the younger guys in this list for more than what Peterson may get in free agency and then fill CB2 from an older veteran listed above. It may be more financially prudent to retain Peterson at CB2 and try to steal a Bouye, Hayden, Darby for the CB1 slot. Let’s not forget that we also have Byron Murphy covering the slot.
Unfortunately for Steve Keim, the NFL Draft prospects in the secondary don’t seem to “fit” the Cardinals needs from a skill standpoint. The top-4 rated cornerbacks per WalterFootball.com are as follows:
Patrick Surtain II – Alabama
Projected to go in the top-20, Surtain II has shown to struggle with fast receivers, just like the Cardinals have. Picking Patrick would literally be replacing Peterson, skillset for skillset. You could argue it’s a wise move because of a rookie deal, but it still would not solve the defensive woes of being burned by speedy receivers.
Caleb Farley – Virginia Tech
A risky pick, Farley has been known to be frequently injured. On top of that, he sat out of football this year due to the pandemic. He would have the skillset that this team needs, but is he worth the risk?
Jaycee Horn – South Carolina
Horn proved himself against a majority of SEC teams last year, which proved to be rare among other cornerbacks, however he lacks some speed that many cornerbacks seem to posses. This may be him in the “has potential” category. Something you don’t want to have with the expectations of being a #1 cornerback in the NFL. The Cardinals can’t afford to wait for a #1 cornerback to grow if Peterson is not there.
Tyson Campbell – Georgia
Another player with great size and speed, Campbell had a great outing against Auburn covering Seth Williams. However, he has been said to be “a better fit to take on big wideouts rather than small speed receivers.”
The Options are Slim
The Cardinals may have to double down and keep Patrick Peterson. The terms of the contract are unimportant at this point, you need Peterson for at least the 2021 season. Maybe you can hire a solid free agent and move him to CB2 seeing as the safety position doesn’t seem to fit his finesse skillset.