A half-decade ago, Patrick Peterson's Arizona Cardinals were one game from the Super Bowl.
Despite this fact, Peterson believes his current team -- one that finished 5-10-1 in 2019 and picked in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft -- is the best he's ever been a part of, at least in terms of projections.
"This is probably the best football team I've been a part of on paper," Peterson said on The Hyperice Lab podcast. "What we've been able to add to the team this year, what the front office has been able to accomplish this offseason (without) being able to see guys and not being able to be around, it's been second to none. I mean, unbelievable."
Peterson has legitimate reasons to be excited. Quarterback Kyler Murray proved to be worth the No. 1 overall pick in his first NFL season, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim brought in three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins without giving up much of anything. Add in hyper-athlete Isaiah Simmons as the team's first-round pick, and you've got a healthy amount of positive momentum building into the new decade.
Of course, there's no better potential in a season than the next, and we are in May. Positivity runneth over in every virtual NFL facility as we near "best shape of my life" season.
It's quite a drastic turnaround. Not too long ago -- about a year and a half -- there were plenty of behind-closed-doors rumblings of Peterson wanting out of Arizona as soon as possible. The veteran cornerback had grown frustrated with management as a rebuild had entered a rut embodied by Arizona's selection of Josh Rosen in the first round and a one-and-done campaign from former head coach Steve Wilks. Peterson understandably didn't see much of a future.
Kliff Kingsbury's arrival, the team's selection of Murray and a rapid accumulation of talent capped by the Hopkins trade has shifted Peterson's outlook dramatically. It'll be a tough go in a loaded NFC West, featuring the reigning conference champions, but the veteran is ready to make a run.
"It's going to come down to us to manage the locker room, manage the egos and make sure everybody is on the same page and understand that we have to commit to one another, believe in one another and trust one another," Peterson said. "If we do those three things, we can be in Tampa (for the Super Bowl) ready to face whoever, and ready to hopefully bring that Lombardi trophy, the first Lombardi trophy, home to Arizona."