The Arizona Cardinals took a bit of a risk with the selection of Tyrann Mathieu in the third round of this year’s draft. Mathieu was of course kicked to the curb by LSU this past season, after he couldn’t pass a drug test to save his life. But everybody deserves a second chance, and the Cardinals were the team to give the former Heisman finalist one.
Now after several weeks with the team, Mathieu’s eventual role is starting to become more clear. Reports out of OTAs are stating that he’s been working out with the first team nickel unit, as well as spending some time at safety. Comments from players and coaches indicate that Mathieu is turning heads during practice, and that he seems to be adjusting well to the NFL.
Size is going to be the main thing that limits the Honey Badger, well that and Mary Jane, but besides the green, his 5’9″ frame will be thing that holds him back the most. There’s no question he can be successful as a nickel corner, but I’m not sold on him as a safety. Not saying he can’t do it, but he best serves the team as a complimentary corner. Over time the DB’s role figures to expand, but for now it seems he’ll be a situational defender only.
Still, the positive reports from Cardinals’ camp are a great sign. It’s never been a question of skill with Mr. Badger, it’s just a matter of him keeping his head out of clouds and staying focused on football. So far that’s been the case, but he’s got a long way to go on his journey.
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