We have an incredible rookie matchup brewing for Week 1 of the regular season out West. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams might be viewed as bridesmaids to the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks for roughly the next decade, but the two have accrued a very intriguing mix of talent over the past couple drafts that make you wonder, just wonder, if they could threaten the NFC West throne in the near future.
While the Rams have stocked up on young electric receivers like Tavon Austin and Chris Givens over the past couple drafts, Arizona has added a couple freak athletes to cover them in Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Peterson is more the physical specimen than Mathieu but what Mathieu brings is a, frankly, eerie level of football instincts that should serve him well in a safety or nickel cornerback role.
Peterson is a great asset on the outside and Javier Arenas is another cornerback in the slot, but the addition of Mathieu gives this secondary further versatility in a league that’s increasingly requiring coverage versatility. Enter Austin, who stands close to Mathieu’s 5-9 height but equally possesses an incredible sense of space and acceleration. I really hope the two get matched up Week 1 when these squads tango to open their schedules.
Many have written about both Mathieu’s descent and climb back into his football career. The best story in my opinion is the pull Peterson had in getting Arizona to draft Mathieu, placing him in the perfect place for a revival.
“I think I have found a routine,” Mathieu said, via the team website. “I’m just staying out of the light, man. Out of sight, out of mind. If I am not playing football I’m pretty much at home or over at Patrick’s house. That routine is working for me.