Tyrann Mathieu ranked No. 4 hybrid player

Jul 11, 2016, 6:00 AM
Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates his interception against the San Franc...
Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates his interception against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

It should come at little or no surprise that Arizona Cardinals’ defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is receiving tons of praise this offseason due to his impact on defense.

He was recently named the No. 28 best player on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list and due to his play last season, he could be in line for a major pay raise.

According to’s Doug Farrar, Mathieu is the No. 4 ranked hybrid player in the NFL.

There’s a lot of discussion as to whether Mathieu is a better safety or slot cornerback, but the point is moot, because he covers both positions so well.

From tracking receivers in man coverage across the formation, to pattern reading slot receivers up the seam, to blitzing off the edge, to converging in zone coverage and helping over the top as a center-field defender who has the raw speed to keep up with any receiver in the league, there isn’t much he can’t do.

What Mathieu may do best (and what the Cardinals allow him to do that other teams might not) is to guess right in the open field. He’ll bait receivers and then close to pick off passes.

He’ll play off-coverage and move in for a tackle with very bad intentions. And if you’re taking a slant across the field with free space in front of you, then you better keep your head on a swivel, because the Honey Badger is coming fast, and he don’t care.

Last year, Mathieu finished tied for sixth in interceptions (five), tied for ninth in passes defensed (17) and 14th in tackles (89) among all NFL safeties and cornerbacks — all in only 14 games. He earned first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2015.

In terms of his impact for the Cardinals, last year Arizona went 12-2 and allowed 19.2 points per game with Mathieu healthy but were 2-2 (including two playoff games) while allowing 28.2 points per game with Mathieu on the sidelines.

Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray #1 and Justin Pugh #67 of the Arizona Cardinals react after a penalty during the secon...
Arizona Sports

ESPN: OL Justin Pugh is Arizona Cardinals’ most underrated player

ESPN posted a list made by Football Outsiders of every team's most underrated player, and Justin Pugh was selected to represent the Cardinals.
1 day ago
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball during the game against the Los Ange...
Tyler Drake

NFC West offseason outlook: The San Francisco 49ers

The offseason has twisted and turned not only for the Cardinals but for the rest of the NFC West. A look at the current state of the 49ers:
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) walks out before an NFL game between the Arizo...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Doug Kyed advises Arizona Cardinals to bring back DL Corey Peters

With the Cardinals' current roster construction, PFF's Doug Kyed believes Arizona should bring DL Corey Peters back once more in 2022.
3 days ago
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) protects his quarterback during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals take OT Paris Johnson Jr. in ESPN 2023 NFL mock draft

ESPN's Matt Miller thinks the Cardinals will beef up the offensive line in his first 2023 mock by selecting Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
5 days ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league

The Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, especially at cornerback.
6 days ago
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
7 days ago Tyrann Mathieu ranked No. 4 hybrid player