Arizona Cardinals: Ranking GM Steve Keim’s 10 best transactions

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Steve Keim
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Steve Keim /
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7. Drafting Tyrann Mathieu

Speaking of high-level safeties Keim found after round one, Tyrann Mathieu was the general manager’s signature pick in his first year at the position. Although the defensive back is no longer a part of the Cardinals, his outstanding play continues to make him a fan favorite amongst the Red Sea.

Keim found Mathieu slipping to the third round due to concerns pertaining to his off-the-field issues and height. But, like he’s done all of his life, the star dubbed the Honeybadger not only proved his doubters wrong, he exceeded all expectations. He was named as a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in just his third year as a pro.

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. But his impact didn’t come from his stats — he was a vocal leader for the 2015 NFC Championship team.

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 Keim to cut him in the 2018 off-season after signing him to a pricey second contract. Because of this, Mathieu ranks lower on this list than most hoped he would be.