The Arizona Cardinals will not have cornerback Patrick Peterson for the first six games of the 2019 season because of his suspension under the league’s PED policy. Who will replace him in the starting lineup during that time?
While many believe it will be second-round pick Byron Murphy who line up opposite Robert Alford, the Cardinals will give a veteran free agent pickup the first shot.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, veteran Tramaine Brock will be given the first opportunity in the starting lineup.
From Up to the Minute Live: The #AZCardinals are likely to give Tramaine Brock the first shot to replace suspended CB Patrick Peterson, who is expected to spend OTAs with his family. He'll be back for mandatory minicamp. pic.twitter.com/V8b6RRWiEP — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 17, 2019
“They really like him,” Rapoport said on Up to the Minute Live. “He played for (defensive coordinator) Vance Joseph last year.”
Brock started five games for the Denver Broncos last season and has started 40 games in his career.
It makes a lot of sense to go this route. One, he is familiar with the team’s new defensive system. He is a nine-year veteran.
The team believes Murphy will be very good playing in the slot. As a rookie, it might be better to let him practice at one position only, rather than starting outside in base defenses and sliding inside in nickel packages. It makes an easier transition to the NFL, giving him one specific role. And since Brock is a player Joseph trusts, the Cardinals would then have two veteran starters on the outside in Alford and Brock.
If that is how things end up playing out, then Peterson slides right into the lineup when he returns from his suspension and then Brock is on the bench, while Murphy continues to play in the slot.
Brock will get plenty of offseason reps for the next couple of weeks. Peterson is not expected to participate in voluntary OTAs.