Cardinals’ GM: Mathieu could be the best playmaker in the draft


Was Tyrann Mathieu too big a risk for the Cardinals in the third round of the NFL draft? If Mathieu is as talented as Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim thinks, then the real risk would have been passing on an opportunity to add him in the third round.

Keim told Albert Breer of NFL Network that Mathieu was such an extraordinary playmaker on both defense and special teams at LSU that he has the potential to make an impact in a way that no other player in this year’s draft could have.

“I don’t know if I’d go out on a limb and say he could become the best corner in the draft,” Keim said. “What I would go out on a limb and say is, he could be the best playmaker in the draft. He just has such unique skill, with instincts and getting his hands on the ball. He’s so opportunistic on the field.”

Of course, Mathieu also got kicked off the team at LSU after failing more drug tests than he could count, and Keim acknowledges that there are real risks associated with bringing a person like Mathieu into the locker room. But Keim thinks the Cardinals have the kind of locker room that can handle him.

“It goes back to the fact that if you have 53 guys in your locker room, and if 25 of them are character risks, you’d have a real problem,” Keim said. “We feel like we’ve done a good enough job drafting and going through free agency to build some character — not characters — in our locker room, so that we can surround a few guys who may have had some issues in the past that deserve a second chance and an opportunity to succeed. You look at your locker room, and you have to feel like you have some stability in place, so you can take a chance here or there.”

And taking a chance became a lot easier after the Cardinals fell in love with Mathieu’s talent.

37 responses to “Cardinals’ GM: Mathieu could be the best playmaker in the draft

  1. As good as he can be, if he can’t keep clean he’s gonna be a footnote of third round draft picks that never panned out.
    Better players have bombed for lots of reasons.
    Marcus Dupree, for example.

  2. This kid has skills, I just don’t know if he’s a FS. He’s tiny. Does anyone think he’s gonna take on Marshawn Lynch or Frank Gore in the running game. They’ll swat him like a fly IMO. I could see him doing damage as a PR though. He looks like a nickel or dime corner to me.

  3. I think he’s right…if he stays clean, dude could end up being a steal for them in the 3rd round. Mathieu was amazing in college…so amazing that he was nominated for the Heisman which doesn’t happen very often for a defensive player. Time will tell I guess.

  4. I haven’t seen this guy play in the nfl yet so I won’t trash on him. But he’s a 175lb safety in the Nfc west. I doubt he can stop frank gore or marshawn lynch running full speed in an incoming direction

  5. Cards will benefit big time from this kid. He is lightning in a bottle! They will keep him out of trouble…

  6. GM: You’re a steal. We love you. You’re going to be the best playmaker in the draft….oh yeah, and we’re going to pay you like an undrafted free agent. You’re OK with that, right?

  7. Yeah, and the GM also thinks going into the season with Carson Palmer, Ryan Lindley, and Drew Stanton as your QBs is a great plan.

    Maybe…..he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about?

  8. Sing with me – “I was gonna be the best playmaker in the draft, but then I got high…”

  9. There is risk with him but the Cardinals risk was less than other teams because they have Patrick Peterson to mentor him.

  10. Let me get this straight, the guy who drafted him, thinks he’ll be the best playmaker in the draft. Dokay!

  11. There’s one problem with Mathieu being drafted and playing in Arizona, it’s very close to Mexico. Do you know what Mexico’s main export is? If you guessed tortilla’s you might be close, but I’m going with weed. So the Honey Badger will have plenty of chances to get his hands on the honey. Hope you keep your nose, well lungs, clean kid.

  12. Hey, this is a big gamble, but then that is what lower level teams must do to give themselves a shot to move up to the upper level teams. And once Kurt Warner left and took his magic with him, it became totally clear that Whisenhunt, Rod Graves, and the rest of the Cards had been just along for the ride on Warner’s jersey tails.

    If anyone cares to differ, then the natural question is why did they fall off the map from being one of the top teams to being a NFL doormat again?

  13. All of this hindsight needs to be kept in perspective. When Randy Moss was drafted by the Vikings and did well, genius sports writers asked, “How could all those teams have passed this guy up?” And of course the answer was, “Because they did not already have Moss’s BROTHER on the team to look after him the way Minnesota did.

    The same is true for Mathieu. Three years from now if he turns out out be a great player who stays away from drugs, some genius from ESPN or Fox Sports will ask, “How could all those teams have passed this guy up?” But the fact is, if he succeeds in AZ, it will be partly because he was drafted by the one team where he had the best chance to succeed – where his college teammate Patrick Peterson is already a star and is already a mentor to the kid.

    It will not surprise me a bit if this works out, but that does not mean that those other teams who passed on him made the wrong choice.

  14. He’s going to look insanely good in camp against the Arizona QBs. The real test will come when he faces an actual NFL-caliber QB.

  15. Forgetting the off field issues why would you move a guy that size from corner to safety? He might make some plays but will get swallowed up by pulling guards, large running backs and super sized tightends. The NFL isn’t college.

  16. “So good that he’s not worth any guaranteed money, right?”

    Oh, so you must be referencing that Peter King speculation based on an unnamed source that both the Cardinals and Mathieu’s agent not only denied but said was completely silly? Football fans by and large are idiots.

  17. Everything I read said this guy was going to be an excellent CB and from watching him before the draft I thought nickel CB. When they said FS at his weight and size I thought that is crazy in NFC West that has FBs and HBs that would run through a guy at that weight. Earl Thomas who is a monster tackler is still undersized at 202.

  18. funny how things work I keep hearing how tavon Austin is gonna get killed because of his size Mathieu is smaller than tavon or the same and he will be asked to tackle not avoid tackles like Austin either way I look forward to Austin vs Mathieu twice this coming year well see who can make plays

  19. Has anybody here actually heard this guy “talk”? $5 says he can’t even spell his own name right. Once he gets laid out by a “NFL” hit, it will knock what little sense he has out of him.


  20. This guy was a solid playmaker in the SEC, not some skinny kid from division 2 or Big 10. AZ had him at nickel during OTA’s, I think he’s a great pick up for them to help counter the newly acquired slot receivers in the NFC West. Nice job AZ.

  21. Based on LSU’s experience, pumping up Tyrann’s ego may NOT be the be the best strategy, regardless of locker room character. Its been downhill since the Heisman nomination, and even winning the Heisman doesn’t predict NFL success. Undersized with poor cover skills, and could “ball-hawk” in college against inferior competition because of unquestioned quickness and speed. Return specialist with steep learning curve at DB.

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