From the moment the Arizona Cardinals selected LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, there has been great anticipation for how he will perform on the field.
Talented but troubled, the former Heisman Trophy candidate comes to the Cardinals with expectations and baggage, which makes him one of the more intriguing players heading into the season.
He’s so intriguing, in fact, that ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards listed Mathieu, in an ESPN Insider piece, as one of five rookies he’s most excited to see take the field.
It will be very interesting to see how Bruce Arians decides to use this youngster. I love his playmaking ability and he has terrific hands and eyes — two crucial aspects to playing the cornerback position. From what I’ve heard it sounds like they may try him at safety to let him roam a little more and maximize his ability as a playmaker, but I worry about his ability to hold up — and to make tackles consistently. At 5-foot-9, 186 pounds, he isn’t even built like a Bob Sanders, and if they try to get him to put weight on, it could slow him down. If the Cardinals do play him at safety, they’ll probably either keep him high or bring him down into the box to blitz. I see him more as a guy who should play 25-plus plays a game at the nickel spot and help on special teams this season. I think he has a chance to be a good player in this league.