Why Patrick Peterson isn't one of our top-ranked CBs
Arizona Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson has the reputation of being one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but as you may have noticed, he does not appear in our list of the top 10 cornerbacks by PFF rating that frequently rotates on the front page of our website.
In fact, in our system, he ranks outside the top 50 entering the 2015 season, with a PFF rating of just 74.6.
How is it that he ranks so low, and why does it contradict so significantly the reputation he has for being one of the NFL’s best corners?
He certainly has a flair for the dramatic, amassing 15 INTs since entering the league in 2011. That’s an impressive number. And after an understandably slow start in his rookie season in 2011, grading at -9.5, he made a huge leap up to +10.5 in 2012, good for 16th in the league among CBs.
However, since then it’s been a steady drop down to +9.6 in 2013 and then -3.6 last season, which placed him 69th of 108 CBs. Quarterbacks have consistently looked his way as well — his 393 targets over his four-year career ranks fourth-most during that stretch, and he has allowed 219 receptions on those targets. His 55.7 percent catch rate against is respectable, but it’s nowhere near the elite level of Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis, both of whom are sub-50 percent.
Of CBs who have played at least 1,000 snaps in last four seasons, his 1.21 yards per coverage snap allowed ranks 40th of 84. His 6.21 coverage snaps per target isn’t terrible, but is again in the middle of the pack. And aside from his rookie year when he only gave up three TDs, Peterson has allowed more than six every subsequent year.
Peterson is certainly a physically gifted player capable of making game-changing plays for his team with a timely interception — the issue is that he’s too often on the wrong end of big plays produced by the Cardinals’ opponents. We know he is capable of being one of the better corners in the league, because he showed us that with his 2012 performance — but for now, to call him one of the top CBs in the NFL isn’t accurate.