Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has coached a lot of talented players in his long career. But when it comes to his draft picks, there’s one individual that stands out above the rest.
That’s safety Tyrann Mathieu.
The Cardinals picked Mathieu in the third round in Arians’ first year as head coach back in 2013. Mathieu played for Arizona through Arians’ five-year tenure before the franchise cut him in the 2018 offseason.
Arians said he hasn’t spoken to Mathieu since the Buccaneers and Chiefs played in November, but his feelings on the safety haven’t changed.
“My favorite draft choice of all time,” Arians said Wednesday. “I just love him, his passion for football. But I am so proud of the man he has become. He’s a great football player but he’s a better man.”
Mathieu said he appreciated how Arians feels about him.
“Me and coach Bruce, we’ve got a great relationship,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, he’s one of the first people in the NFL who really believed in me and the things that I can do on a football field and gave me a chance to kind of showcase that. So anytime he tells me i’m his favorite draft pick, it always makes me smile. This is a guy that coached Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning and now he’s coaching Tom Brady. And somehow, I’m still one of his favorite players. It’s just a good feeling.”