LIONS INSIDER

Peterson says going against Johnson will get him notoriety as one of the best corners in the game

Posted Dec 12, 2012

The Lions liked Patrick Peterson a lot in the 2011 NFL Draft, which is to say they were no different than the other 31 teams that really liked the former LSU cornerback.

The Lions liked Patrick Peterson a lot in the 2011 NFL Draft, which is to say they were no different than the other 31 teams that really liked the former LSU cornerback.

But the Lions did try to take a shot at getting him. When the Cardinals were on the clock with the No. 5 pick, the Lions attempted to trade up to get Peterson. They reportedly were set to offer their first-, second- and fourth-round choices to move up from No. 13 to No. 5.

The Cardinals weren’t interested.

“We felt good about Patrick,” Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a conference call Wednesday.

“We knew where we were picking at that spot that we were going to get an outstanding football player. There were a couple of guys that we were prepared to pick at that point. When we saw Patrick available to us, there was never any question that we were going to pick him. Not only just because of his talent and what he brings to the table, but also his character and the type of person he is. So, you know, we have been very pleased with Patrick and what he’s brought to our team.”

The Lions went ahead and kept the No. 13 pick and selected defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who’s turning into one of the best young defensive tackles in the league, so it all worked out.

Peterson, though, has helped turn the Cardinals defense into the fifth-best pass defense unit in the NFL, a unit holding opponents to under 200 passing yards per game.

"He's a 6'1, 220 (pound) corner that can run,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Peterson. “He's physically really gifted, really smooth in and out of transition. He knows what to do when the ball's around him."

Peterson has six interceptions on the year and also shines as a kick returner, where he warranted a Pro Bowl nod last year.

“I think I am the best cornerback in the league right now,” Peterson told reporters in a conference call this week.

"I think I’m doing everything that I need to do to keep my name in consideration of the best cornerback. But at the end of the day, I have to go out there and continue playing hard and continue being the person that I am, continue preparing, continue having that confidence within myself on Sundays and go out there and make the necessary plays that I need to make for this defense.”

He'll get his chance against the No. 1 receiver in the league in Calvin Johnson come Sunday.

“You know, me and Calvin, we’re the same caliber players," Peterson said. "You know, just he’s a receiver and I’m a DB. I just think going against him each and every play is definitely going to get me notoriety as being one of the best corners in the game, especially if I do what I need to do on Sunday.

"Honestly, I would like to go one-on-one as much as I can, you know? But I believe we have a pretty good game plan and I think we’ll be ready for whatever those guys throw at us on Sunday.”

The Lions are still looking for their Peterson-type corner to help cement their secondary.

They've begun to look for big, physical corners like Peterson, who can run. The team drafted Chris Greenwood (6-1, 193) in hopes that he can become that ball-hawking corner and physical presence in their secondary.

“Well, it definitely helps when you’ve got a young guy you think can be one of the better players in the league at that position,” Whisenhunt said of Peterson.

“But I think it means more that you’ve got the type of leadership that he provides; A young guy that is always working hard to better. He doesn’t have an ego. I mean, he feels confident in his ability to do things, but he’ll do anything you ask him to do and he works hard.”