Tyrann Mathieu Is Worth Risk for Cardinals in the 3rd Round

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIApril 27, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Tyrann Mathieu of Louisiana State University looks on during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu has seemingly matured and he truly understands the privilege he has to play football for a living.

The former Heisman Trophy finalist was overwhelmed with emotion when he learned the Cardinals made him the 69th overall pick in the draft, per John Marshall of Yahoo! Sports.

Mathieu's off-field problems are well documented, but I'm a firm believer everyone deserves second and sometimes third chances. That's especially the case when problems occur with young people.

The Honey Badger has had several punishments that served to humble him. It is a bitter pill, but one that was seemingly very necessary in Mathieu's maturation process.

One major impediment some young athletes face is overcoming a sense of entitlement and lack of discipline. It's not that uncommon with teenagers and young adults in any walk of life.

The Cardinals can take refuge in the fact that Mathieu's recovery from these issues has begun before he started his pro career.

On the field, he has a special blend of athleticism and football instincts. Thinking about the prospects of a secondary that includes Patrick Peterson and Mathieu is exciting.

In the best-case scenario, I'm not sure any team would have two more dangerous players in the secondary. Two quality cornerbacks is almost a necessity in today's pass-happy NFL.

If you look at the impact Mathieu could have on special teams, the prospects are even more encouraging.

Peterson is already an all-world punt returner. He had four returns for touchdowns in 2011. But the Cards could entertain the thought of playing Mathieu on kick returns or to spell Peterson in punt-return duties. 

Mathieu had two punt-return touchdowns in 2011 for LSU. Mathieu could give the Cards two explosive returners in both facets of special teams.

With a talent like Mathieu, there are a number of possibilities. The Cardinals are banking on him staying on the straight and narrow.

Here's to hoping their gamble pays off.


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