GLENDALE, Ariz. Jerraud Powers isnt the smallest cornerback in the NFL, but he still fields questions about his size.
Does it impact his durability? Does it affect his ability to tackle? Does it make it harder to cover big receivers?
"If you look around the league lately, there may be a trend toward taller corners like Seattle with (6-3 Richard) Sherman and (6-4 Brandon) Browner, but if you look at the history, its always been the 5-10 guy or even shorter," said Powers, who is generously listed at 5-10. "You still dont see too many Patrick Petersons out there, so if youve got ability and you can play, they cant deny you because of your size."
Size wasnt a consideration for Cardinals coach Bruce Arians when he pushed management to sign Powers in the offseason to a three-year, 10.5 million deal. Nor was Powers injury history, even though hes played in just 42 of a possible 64 NFL games due to an assortment of injuries.
"Sometimes, its just bad luck," Arians said. "He plays extremely hard and plays physical and things can happen, but what he brings to your football team way outweighs that problem."
What Arians believes he brings, some of which Powers has already shown in training camp, is play-making ability. He forced a fumble and had an interception in Saturdays win over Dallas, hes been around the ball throughout camp, and Arians credits him with saving Indianapolis season while both were with the Colts last year.
"He had the pick against Green Bay that turned the whole thing around," Arians said of a Week 5 win that started a run of five wins in six games. "Hes a very instinctive, smart player. Youre not going to find 6-3 corners to go against 6-3 receivers. Most corners are not that size, so hes more than big enough."
Powers also possesses some of the off-field attributes Arians covets, exemplified by the fact that he was the only injured Colt last season to travel with the team.
"He had a clipboard and he was coaching, and his leadership was something I valued," Arians said. "I leaned on him a lot. He was the type of guy I wanted to put in this locker room."
Powers knows the questions about his durability will linger. When you havent played a complete season, its logical, even if its misunderstood.
"The thing about that is I havent had an injury that throws up a red flag or concerns anybody, long-term," he said. "I havent had an injury where I was trying to tackle somebody bigger than me or anything like that where my body couldnt handle it.
"One year, I reach out for a tackle, hit a guys shin and my forearm breaks. Last year, I plant to break on a ball and my toe ligament slightly tears. Its been freak plays, all of it."
It is all but acknowledged that Powers will start alongside Patrick Peterson this season, but the depth Arians believes the Cardinals have built at cornerback could allow the secondary to stay fresh and less susceptible to injury.
That sounds great to Powers, who has already struck up a wager with Peterson, whom he has known since their SEC days -- Peterson at LSU, Powers at Auburn.
"Patricks the guy here, and everybody knows that. Hes a hell of a corner and hes earned that right," Powers said. "But Im still going to try to make more plays than Patrick out there. I always tell him Im going to be the best cornerback on this team this year, but hes not going to back down.
"Hes already told me the number of picks hes going to have and TDs. Well see "
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