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Cardinals' Second Corner Spot (Jamar) Taylor Made

One time second-round pick hoping to settle finally in Arizona

Cornerback Jamar Taylor breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for tight end Ricky Seals-Jones during a training camp practice.
Cornerback Jamar Taylor breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for tight end Ricky Seals-Jones during a training camp practice.

Jamar Taylor wasn't supposed to be on his third team before he even played his sixth season.

As a one-time second-round pick, the cornerback knew there were expectations when he came into the league. He harbored plenty himself.

"We are competitors," Taylor said. "I keep myself to a high standard. There were definitely nights I didn't sleep, calling my agent, calling my wife, calling my dad and mom, just frustrated."

Taylor's time didn't work out in three seasons with Miami, the team that drafted him. He started both years in Cleveland, and he was admittedly disappointed the Browns were willing to trade him in the offseason. But he's come to Arizona, at the cost of a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft, with another chance to grab the spot he was drafted to play.

Taylor is the starter across from Patrick Peterson, and barring something unforeseen, he'll be that guy when the Cardinals open the season Sept. 9.

"I'm pleased," coach Steve Wilks said. "I think he's making a lot of progress. He's making a lot of plays on the ball. He had a couple of opportunities to make interceptions. He does a great job playing with his eyes in zone coverage. I think he's going to be good for us."

Peterson believes Taylor can thrive in the new defense of Wilks and coordinator Al Holcomb, which deals less in man coverage and more with zone principles that should allow all the defensive backs to be more aggressive to the ball.

And perhaps Taylor – who is under contract through 2019, albeit with a $4 million-plus salary next season – can be the cornerback who sticks with Peterson for more than a season.

As has been well-documented, Peterson still has not had the same starting cornerback across from him for consecutive years since Peterson came into the league in 2011.

"It would feel great to play with a guy for more than a season because I believe you get an opportunity to really play off one another," said Peterson, noting how playing with Jerraud Powers for multiple seasons allowed them an unspoken communication.

"It's like playing offensive line. Keep those guys together as long as possible. The more confidence you can have together as a group, the more dangerous you are."

Taylor isn't assuming he'll be around long-term. He's not even assuming he's locked down the starting job, having seen too many times complacency costing a teammate a role.

Arizona is a good place to be not just because of the opportunity to play. Family is close – Taylor's wife grew up in Chandler, and Taylor's parents are not far away in his hometown of San Diego.

But none of that matters unless Taylor performs on the field. The fact he was a second-round pick matters little now.

"My career has been crazy to say the least," Taylor said. "My career started in Miami, which I could probably write a book about, what happened down there, to Cleveland which was like the bright spot of my career, to now being here.

"Really you have to take (expectations) with a grain of salt. You can't worry about outside noise. It's about you and only you, and make sure when you are done with this game you have no regrets."