2013 – 3rd round, pick 69
Although Tyrann Mathieu was released after just five seasons in Cardinal Red, it’s hard to argue that the selection of the Honeybadger was nothing short of a victory for Steve Keim.
At LSU, Mathieu was best described as a loose cannon off the field but a hardened leader on it. Keim was heavily criticized for taking the oft-troubled safety with a high third round pick. However, once Mathieu stepped on the field, those critics were quickly silenced as he proved to be a vocal leader on the field that backed up his words with his play.
During his Arizona Cardinals five-year tenure, Mathieu played 66 regular season games and accumulated 305 total tackles, 11 interceptions, 41 pass deflections, 28 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles. His biggest impact came on the 2015 NFC Championship appearance team as he earned both All-Pro and Pro-Bowl nods.
However, Mathieu’s time in the desert was ultimately cut short. His nagging injury issues kept him off the field for a total of 14 regular season games, which forced Steve Keim to cut him in the 2018 off-season after signing him to a pricey second contract.
But that doesn’t mean the man known as Honeybadger isn’t forever engrained in Arizona Cardinals history. His leadership and strong play were critical to the Bruce Arians era.