“With the 69th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected Tyrann Matthieu from LSU.” When Roger Goodell voiced those words that reverberated off the ceiling of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Cardinals fans took a beat before responding. “We haven’t seen him play in a year,” and “Yes! We get the Honey Badger,” paradoxically paralyzed Cardinals fans.
While in College, Matthieu was in the upper echelon of exceptionally talented players. In his two years at LSU, he forced 11 fumbles as a Defensive Back. Stop it. He had a few sacks on DB blitz packages as well. The 11 forced fumbles, 5 of which he recovered and two of which he returned for touchdowns, is a staggering number. All of those stats can be summed up into two words: game changer.
Then came the substance abuse, many alleged failed drug tests, a stint in a rehab center, then another arrest.
He then entered the 2013 NFL Draft, and the Cardinals found their new free safety. Usage of marijuana is often, if not always, considered a suspendable offense in both collegiate and professional sports. However, with the transgressions of many NFL athletes in recent history, apparently the Honey Badger’s issues were looked at relative to all the heinous actions that have peppered the NFL in its history. Plus they saw the draw, the IT factor, that Matthieu oozes out of his pores.
Through the first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season, Matthieu has already made an impact. In Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams, he stripped TE Jared Cook on the 2-2yard line to save a surefire touchdown; he came seemingly out of nowhere. His closing speed is ridiculous. In Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, a pivotal 4th down stop by the Honey Badger sealed a win for the Cardinals.
If the future is as bright as the first two games in his NFL career, Tyrann Matthieu might just be the steal of the 2013 NFL Draft.