Here I thought all the locals would love the pick. Guess I was wrong. After the Arizona Cardinals selected cornerback Tyrann Mathieu with their third round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on Friday evening, all I heard was surprise but nothing negative from most. Now that local sports “experts” and fans have had the time to digest the pick, now not many seem to like the pick. Sometimes, you just can’t win.
My take is that I love the pick and I can give you a ton of reasons why. Although I get why people would complain about the pick, if you really take the time to examine it, it really wasn’t that bad now, was it? Let’s look at why.
First of all, I didn’t hear one peep from any NFL fan complaining he went to the combine and was in the draft. Not one person. Somebody was going to pick him, right? Why not the Arizona Cardinals? I submit this was the best place for him to come to. He has a support system here with Patrick Peterson, who already knows what it takes to be a professional. He also has former LSU teammate Kevin Minter in the house now as well.
He will be accepted by his teammates. If he isn’t, I guarantee that person isn’t going to say a word. His teammates will have his back. If they don’t, I question the locker room he is coming into. He also has a head coach in Bruce Arians who was very impressed with him in his initial meeting prior to the draft. You have a general manager in Steve Keim who has even come out and say he isn’t naive. He said he understands the risks in taking someone like Mathieu.
Then you have today where it was suggested that the Cards would not offer “Honey Badger” any guaranteed money and would have to earn roster bonuses instead, which his agent of course came out later and said was ridiculous. Well, I understand that’s just and agent being an agent, we’ll see where that actually lands when they sit down and negotiate a contract. However, what do the Cards have to lose? Really, nothing but a third-round pick. If he does end up with any guaranteed money in the end, it won’t be mind-blowing.
Honestly, I think it was a great pick. Sure, there is some risk there. You don’t win in this league though if you don’t take risks from time to time. Look at the San Francisco 49′ers. After quarterback Alex Smith got hurt and Colin Kaepernick replaced him, he played so well that when Smith returned healthy, he didn’t start again. It was a risk the Niners were willing to take and look where it got them. Yes, there are many risks teams have taken in this league and failed miserably. However so many are acting as if the Cards already failed at this. Please.
Critics say he failed a number of drug tests so why be given another chance. Well, first of all, no one did anything about it until after all those failed tests. It wasn’t like he failed one test, was suspended, failed another, suspended again. No. He made some mistakes. He was immature, no doubt about it. So, you’ve never been given a second chance? At least professionally, he hasn’t blown any chances yet.
The Cards will stay on top of this. This is what they get paid to do. Granted, we all get critical of them at times for certain moves, myself not excluded. However this is a player who if not for his off-field troubles, would have easily been a top-five pick this year. People say he is too small to play safety, where Arians plans on moving him. I say where is it written he can’t do the job until he proves otherwise? He might prove in the end he is too small but we don’t know how he’ll play the position yet.
I give the Cardinals the benefit of the doubt on this one for now. If this risk doesn’t pan out, at least they can say they tried and move on. Mathieu will be drug tested and often. You can count on that. I guarantee if he fails even one, he’s out. He knows it too. So let’s let him prove his worth instead of writing him and the Cards off so fast. They have just gotten the steal of this year’s draft.