Former LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was the most controversial player in the 2013 NFL draft but that didn’t stop the Arizona Cardinals from selecting him with the No. 69 overall pick. Now Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians says he is expecting a lot from Mathieu in his rookie season.
Arians joined NFL Network’s “NFL AM” Wednesday morning and said Mathieu is going to see the field routinely (per NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling):
“I don’t think there’s any doubt. … He’s getting his hands on a lot of balls. The guy’s got amazing instincts and closing speed.”
It goes without saying that Mathieu is an electric player. In college he was unstoppable on special teams when it came to returning kicks and that should transition well to the NFL. However, how he fits on the field with the first-string defense is hard to determine because of his short stature.
In college the height disadvantage didn’t impact Mathieu much because of his tenacity and extreme athleticism. At the NFL level the athletic advantage Mathieu has could be negated because everyone in the league is an elite athlete.
The good news for Mathieu is it sounds as if he will see the field plenty next season. Arians realizes the extreme play-making ability and versatility he possesses, so don’t be shocked when the rookie corner sees a lot of time at both nickel corner and perhaps some safety.
While he won’t be a starter by any means, Mathieu was taking reps with the first team this preseason and has the endorsement of his head coach.
Watch for Mathieu to have a big impact next season.
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