Free Agency: How Peterson fits with Steelers

Patrick Peterson, CB, 13th year, 6-1, 198 pounds

The Steelers added four-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson in free agency.

The former Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings' star has played at a high level since being the fifth pick in the storied 2011 NFL Draft that should see a number of players someday headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And Peterson, who has 34 career interceptions to go along with 111 pass defenses, could be among those who receive that honor.

How does he fit with the Steelers?

As a player who has been a No. 1 corner essentially since the day he first put on a uniform, Peterson has the swagger required of the position. Opponents might beat him from time to time, but he's going to line up with the same high level of confidence from play to play.

That is something that can be contagious and rub off on younger players.

Beyond that, Peterson can still play at a high level. In 2022, he recorded 15 pass breakups and five interceptions while playing for the Vikings. Opposing quarterbacks posted a passer rating of just 79.6 when targeting Peterson in coverage last season, one year after they posted a 78.7 rating.

The Vikings had him play man coverage just 17 percent of the time in 2022, which allowed him to get his eyes on the quarterback and make more plays on the football.

But he was still quite capable as a man defender, allowing just three receptions on 12 targets when playing man.

And while Peterson will turn 33 in July, he's a guy who was an outstanding performer at the NFL Scouting Combine coming out of LSU, where he had been an unanimous All-America player.

At 6-1, 219 pounds, Peterson's Combine performance was one of the great ones for a player his size. He posted a 4.38-second 40-yard dash with a 38-inch vertical jump and a ridiculous 6.58-second three-cone drill. He's big, strong and fast.

That has shown over the course of his career, as he has the ability to muscle wide receivers off their route at the line of scrimmage, but has elite ability to mirror them in coverage.

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With the Steelers, he immediately steps in as the team's No. 1 cornerback. But with his size, he also could have the ability to match up against some of the better pass catching tight ends the team faces, as well.

Per Pro Football Focus, Peterson was the 10th-best cornerback in the NFL in coverage last season. He also was credited with just four missed tackles. He's also played some in the box, seeing 75 snaps there for the Vikings last season.

Corners with Peterson's athleticism tend to age gracefully. Even if he's not still a 4.38-guy on the football field, he can make up for that with what he's learned over his previous 12 seasons in the NFL, something he proved in 2022.