According the Dallas Cowboys' receiver Dez Bryant, Tyrann Mathieu was the best player in this year's draft class. According to one NFL scout, the rookie cornerback is the best player on the entire Arizona Cardinals roster. After being deemed a risky pick and plenty of red flags, Mathieu is making the most of his opportunity on the Cardinals and could emerge as one of the best rookies this upcoming season.
General manager Steve Keim is already raving about Mathieu's performance on the field, saying the rookie had an outstanding offseason with the team. Now knee deep into training camp, plenty of other players are realizing just how talented Mathieu really is.
Draft analysts praised Mathieu's ability to get after the ball and having natural instincts on the field, so it is no surprise when he intercepts Carson Palmer. During a team scrimmage, Mathieu recorded two interceptions while splitting time at cornerback, safety and nickelback. Palmer certainly does not mind the rookie taking over on the field.
"Tyrann is getting his hands on a lot of balls," Palmer said. "He's so quick and explosive in and out of breaks and reading concepts and knowing coverages and weaknesses in where we're trying to throw the ball."
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is another player praising the efforts of Mathieu. Recently on the Dan Patrick Show, the veteran receiver noted Mathieu is a great teammate to have and making quick progress on the field. As the rookie begins to get his football feet back under him after sitting out a year of college ball, the "Honey Badger" attitude is slowly beginning to creep back in.
Mathieu had originally intended on retiring the nickname for the somewhat negative connotation that comes along with it. But, as he drops the off-the-field issues, he is intending on keeping the same aggressive nature that earned the nickname in the first place.
"I don't know. I tried to," Mathieu said via USA Today Sports. "But it seems like it's still on my shoulder. I'm just going to go with the flow and we'll see what happens."
Cardinals fans have been heard chanting the nickname during training camp, prompting the rookie to un-retire it for the time being. So far, Mathieu is proving to be worth the risk that came with drafting him. After losing players like Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes in the offseason, Mathieu has a chance to make an immediate impact and he intends on taking advantage of it.