The "Honey Badger" has finally found a new place to roam.
One of the more polarizing prospects in the entire draft coming into this week’s festivities, Mathieu’s draft stock varied wildly upon whom was speaking.
A transcendent special teams stud and top-flight cornerback, Mathieu ascended to stardom during his sophomore season at LSU in 2011. He recorded 76 tackles and two interceptions that season, becoming a consensus All-American, Heisman finalist and winner of the Chuck Bednarik award.
In addition to being a dominant cornerback, Mathieu was also a brilliant return man on special teams. His up-field burst became something of legend, helping set up the Tigers offense in fantastic field position on a regular basis.
Mathieu’s stellar play helped lead LSU to a BCS National Championship Game berth and earned the young corner plenty of mainstream fame. Beloved in Baton Rouge due to his flamboyant style of play (and hairstyle), Mathieu became synonymous with his “Honey Badger” nickname.
However, things quickly came crashing down.
Mathieu was dismissed from the LSU football team prior to the 2012 season as a result of multiple failed drug tests. Though he tried to redeem himself with the program by entering a rehabilitation clinic, all possibilities of a happy ending with the Tigers ended after an arrest for marijuana possession.
Without many options, Mathieu entered his name in the 2013 draft, hoping a team would look past his red flags and take a chance on his potential. Impressive in workouts and at the combine, Mathieu ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, proving that his speed suffered little attrition with his year out of football.
Mathieu's stock was only boosted further by passing the mandatory drug test (h/t NFL Network's Albert Breer) at the combine. Considered by some to be undraftable, Mathieu's stock was on a crescendo heading into this week's draft.
Though it took nearly 70 picks for it to happen, the Cardinals saw those positive signs and viewed their franchise as the perfect match for Mathieu.