He is truly one of the premier players in the NFL.
Head coach Bruce Arians knows how good a special teams performer Bethel is. He also knows what his potential is as a talented cornerback as well.
"He could be our best," Arians told azcentral.com. "He's got all the skill level to be as good as there is."
Could Bethel even be better than All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson?
"Including Patrick," he stated. "This kid has an unbelievable skill set and he's starting to get his hands on more balls than anybody out here. The sky's the limit."
That's high praise indeed. However Peterson, Antonio Cromartie and Jerraud Powers are still ahead of him on the cornerback depth chart. We know how good a special teams player Bethel is. Now the Sumter, SC native is making progress towards becoming the best cornerback he can be.
"After the season, I had a meeting with BA," Bethel said, referring to Arians, "and he was like, 'You made it to the Pro Bowl on special teams. Are you ready to step it up to the next level and try to play some corner?' Coming off last season, I felt like I had come to the point where I was ready to start playing some corner. I was getting better at my technique. This year, I'm emphasizing just getting into my playbook."
That's an important first step. Bethel is one of the fastest players in the league and is an amazing athlete. That being said, it takes a lot more than just that to become a top-level NFL cornerback.
Bethel knows what his goal is though.
"Once you get into the playbook, it slows the game down and it makes everything a little bit easier with your technique. My goal is to eventually be a starter as a cornerback and still do my role on special teams."
The Red Birds are fine with that.
That's for sure.
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Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Arians, Football, Jerraud Powers, Justin Bethel, NFL