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Shutdown Corner

Arizona Cardinals take the draft’s biggest risk, select LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

The Arizona Cardinals selected Mathieu, whose troubles at LSU were well documented, in the third round, with the 69th overall pick.

He can start over now. He was kicked off of LSU's team for failing multiple drug tests. There was a report that he told NFL teams he failed at least 10 drug tests at the school. He was arrested last October for marijuana possession. All of that can be in his past, if he stays out of trouble with the Cardinals.

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ESPN was in Mathieu's living room on Friday. When he was picked by Arizona, he put his head in his hands as the people around him celebrated. When he took away his hands, the tears coming out of his eyes were easy to see. Mathieu has dealt with a lot of adversity over the last year, but he still landed on his feet.

"I was filled with joy," Mathieu said in an interview with ESPN as his voice cracked with emotion. "It's been a long road, a lot of ups and downs, but God is good. God was with me the whole time.

"I'm ready to play football now."

One of the interesting aspects of Mathieu going to Arizona is the presence of former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Mathieu worked out with Peterson this offseason. Peterson seemed to want to help his troubled friend out. Now he can keep an eye on his friend. Maybe this is the best fit for Mathieu.

The pick is a risk for the Cardinals. Aside from all of Mathieu's problems at LSU, he is an undersized corner who wasn't considered elite even without the off-field issues. But he was a playmaker with the Tigers. He can help the Cardinals right away by covering slot receivers, and maybe helping in the return game. He was a star in college, perhaps he can be one in the NFL as well.

Mathieu said to ESPN that the Cardinals told him there would be provisions in his contract to protect the team, and he said he was willing to take weekly drug tests. He said marijuana isn't a problem for him anymore.

"Seven months ago I didn't think I'd be in this situation," Mathieu told ESPN. "I had everything taken away from me. But I believed in God. I had faith. I kept pushing, I kept fighting. I'm just so happy somebody else had faith in me, and somebody else believed in me."

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