CBSSports.com senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco added another log to fuel the Patrick Peterson-Richard Sherman debate a couple weeks ago when he ranked Peterson ahead of Sherman as the best corner in the NFL in his list of the league’s top 100 players.
Analytics sites like Pro Football Focus have anointed Sherman, Seattle’s Super Bowl hero, as No. 1, but while Prisco is often inflexibly opinionated, he is also well informed, well researched through film study and well connected with the NFL’s cognoscenti.
Among the notables mentions were Arizona general manager Steve Keim, running back Andre Ellington and wide receiver Michael Floyd.
When the topic turned to the best young GMs in the league around the 29-minute mark of the podcast, Prisco mentioned Keim, opining that he should have landed the job several years before he was promoted from assistant GM last season — an opinion shared by many critics of former GM Rod Graves.
"Those are the kind of guys you like to see succeed," Prisco said. "I like guys that come up and kind of learn the ropes — personnel guys."
Of Floyd, the Cardinals blossoming wide receiver and 2012 top pick, Prisco had this to say.
"Michael Floyd is going to make a huge jump up this year. It won’t be so stupid to think that Michael Floyd might be better than Larry Fitzgerald by the end of this year."
When pressed on the latter opinion, Prisco said he had spoken to several executives from around the league who thought Fitzgerald was slowing down a bit. Prisco added that he does not share that opinion.
When talk turned to breakout players, Prisco mentioned Ellington. Arizona coach Bruce Arians, who occasionally exaggerates, said during OTAs that he would like to get Ellington 25 to 30 touches a game this season. That may be prove difficult, but Prisco had this to say.
"Andre Ellington’s going to have a great year in Arizona. I think they’re going to use him in a bunch of different ways."
As for Peterson, Prisco said at about the 20:30 mark of the podcast that he originally had Sherman listed ahead of Peterson before he ran his rankings by several NFL GMs, coaches, offensive coordinators, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones and other offensive players.
"While they all said Sherman was a great player, not one of them thought he was better than Peterson," Prisco said. "That shocked me. I am sure it will shock Sherman.
Here’s what two general managers had to say about Sherman:
GM No. 1: "Overhyped. Not the ideal athlete that you look for at the cornerback position, but fits what they do well. He has very good ball skills and recognition skills, but benefits greatly from their front and the safety help over the top."
GM No. 2: "See how he does when he doesn’t have a push. In that defense, they don’t ask him to play a lot of man. He’s more of a one-dimensional player. He’s very good at what they ask them to do. Sherman’s big and long, so that helps. He’s good, but Peterson is better."
"GM No. 2: "He is big, tough and lines up all over the place. He can play the press-man you want and he takes the other team’s best receiver. He can go into the slot. He can go to the left side, the right side. It doesn’t matter. That’s the difference. I don’t think you could put Sherman in their scheme and he’d do the same things."
Overall, Prisco ranked Peterson the No. 8 player in the NFL with Sherman No. 11, but he also added that if New England corner Darrelle Revis can return to form, he could be in the conversation for No. 1.
Meanwhile, the Chargers’ Brandon Flowers believes he is the NFL’s best corner and took a bold step to back up the claim — though it does nothing to prove it:
The Cardinals report training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on July 25 with the first practice scheduled for July 26. A total of 18 practices are open to the public, all scheduled to run from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free.