Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim swung for the fences in the third round when he selected LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.
Sure, Mathieu brought his own side car full of baggage with him to the desert. But he was a tremendous player with great instincts before he failed enough drug tests to finally get himself booted from his college program.
The Cardinals believe they have structure in place that can help Mathieu off the field. On the field, they have transitioned him to safety and early reviews are glowing. He’s fit in quickly in the secondary and if he picks up in training camp where he will leave off this spring, he will push for playing time immediately.
“He reminds of Troy Polamalu with his closing speed,” Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “He might not be the fastest guy out there, but he can change directions and get to the ball really fast, like Troy.”
That is high praise. It will be fun to watch Mathieu in preseason and see where he is at.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune