Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates with cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) after intercepting a pass in the end zone in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Now, Pro Football Focus writer Gordon McGuinness has put together his ranking of the top ten defensive players in the NFC. Cardinals make up 20 percent of the list, with defensive back Tyrann Mathieu coming in at number-four and cornerback Patrick Peterson landing eighth.On Mathieu, McGuinness writes:What truly makes Mathieu special is just how good of an all-around player he is, and his success has spawned a search by other teams for a player like him in the draft every year. His run-stop percentage, our signature stat that tracks the percentage of plays where a defender makes a tackle resulting in a defensive stop, was the best among cornerbacks last season. He also had the third-best pass-rushing productivity rating among cornerbacks at 21.8, racking up a sack, two hits, and eight hurries on 39 pass-rushing snaps. In two of his three seasons in the league, he has graded positively in coverage, against the run, and as a pass-rusher.Mathieu was in the running for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award until he tore his right ACL intercepting a pass in a road win over the Philadelphia Eagles in December. Without him on the field, the Cardinals went 2-2.The third-year player from LSU finished the season with 89 total tackles, one fumble recovery and a team-high five interceptions, including a pick-six in a Week 3 win over San Francisco. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories On Peterson:The highest single-game yardage total allowed by Peterson last year was 56 against the Bears in Week 2; after that, he didn’t allow more than 50 yards in a game until he gave up 52 yards in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Packers. Considering that he spent a lot of time covering the best receivers in the NFL, that’s a fantastic stat to back up his claim as one of the best CBs in all of football. That included allowing just two receptions for 26 yards against Steelers WR Antonio Brown.Peterson elevated his game in 2015, a season in which he made his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl. The fifth overall selection in the 2011 draft had 35 tackles and two interceptions despite being challenged infrequently by opposing quarterbacks.McGuinness’ top ten also included three members of the Seattle Seahawks — cornerback Richard Sherman (third), defensive end Michael Bennett (fifth) and safety Earl Thomas (ninth).The Minnesota Vikings also had two representatives in safety Harrison Smith (seventh) and linebacker Anthony Barr (10th).Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ best overall player in 2015, topped the list. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling On the heels of a fantastic 2015 season that ended one step short of a Super Bowl appearance, it’s no surprise the Arizona Cardinals have been showered with offseason accolades.In the past week alone, different writers have decided the Cardinals have the fifth-best offensive triplets in the league, the fourth-best defensive trio and that David Johnson will be the fifth-leading rusher in the league in 2016. One ESPN scribe said Tyrann Mathieu is the most versatile defender in the entire league, another concluded Arizona’s receiver and running back groups are among the best and at NFL.com, Adam Schein says the Cardinals are the team most likely to follow the footsteps of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and win their first title this season.