The Arizona Cardinals raised some eyebrows back in April when they selected cornerback Tyrann Mathieu out of LSU with their third round pick in the NFL Draft.
It’s hard to question Mathieu’s productivity on the football field. The 5-foot-9 defender was the 2011 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American for a Tigers team that went 13-1 and lost to Alabama in the BCS National Championship.
But 2012 was a different story. Mathieu was booted off the LSU squad by head coach Les Miles before the season for a violation of team rules. Mathieu has since admitted that he failed numerous drug tests in college, giving fuel to those who doubted the Cardinals’ investment in him.
Mathieu has his own fuel, at least according to his twitter account. The cornerback has taken notice of what some draft experts said about him leading up to his entry into the NFL, especially NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
I'll never forget what mike mayock said about me… I'll blow him a kiss on my first game changing play
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) July 17, 2013
Mayock had Mathieu listed as his 98th-best draft prospect last April and had the following analysis of the former LSU star after the Cardinals picked him. “There’s a risk-reward scenario here. What a great opprotunity for this young man. He’s going to have a chance to go and use Patrick Peterson as a mentor. There’s not a whole lot of cornerbacks there, and I smell opportunity for Tyrann Mathieu.”
Not exactly venomous stuff there, but it’s possible Mathieu is using Mayock as the face of a composite of analysts who questioned his pro future because of his off-the-field issues.
Mayock took Mathieu’s twitter offering in stride Wednesday. “I think he’s a playmaker, and on ‘Thursday Night Football,’ when we’ve got Arizona, if he makes a big play and blows me a kiss, I’m just going to wave at him and say, ‘Way to go, big fella,'” he said Wednesday on NFL Network. “Because I’m rooting for him. I think he’s a talented kid. I’m hoping he stays clean off the field, and I’m not sure what I said to motivate him, but I’m rooting for the kid.”
Mathieu will have a chance to blow that kiss to Mayock in Week 7 when the Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks in a Thursday night game carried on NFL Network.