The Honey Badger officially has his second chance.
Tyrann Mathieu, the controversial cornerback out of LSU, was selected by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 69 overall. That pick reunites Mathieu with Patrick Peterson, who served as a mentor to Mathieu as he attempted to get his football career back on track following a tumultuous, drug-hindered college stint.
While the third round seemed a somewhat safe bet for where Mathieu might wind up, his standing on NFL draft boards was one of the great mysteries heading into this event. From a pure talent perspective, it's hard to argue with the value here -- Mathieu was a Heisman finalist in 2011 and plays much bigger than his 5-foot-8 size.
The red flags could not be ignored, however. And not only was Mathieu booted from LSU's team after failing multiple drug tests, but he also did not play football in 2012. So, at the very least, any team selecting him had to be prepared for Mathieu to need a bit of a learning curve.
The Cardinals have the personnel to be able to move Mathieu around, after they added depth at corner. Peterson is the team's clear lock-down, No. 1 corner and they also signed Antoine Cason and Jerraud Powers this offseason. Arizona coach Bruce Arians said Friday night Mathieu will shift to free safety, as least to open his career.
Mathieu was an electrifying punt returner in 2011, too, averaging 17.2 yards and scoring twice on 25 attempts. He could give the Cardinals another option there, though Peterson is one of the league's best punt returners right now. Because of his rocky background, Mathieu will not have much leeway once he arrives in Arizona. The Cardinals will watch his every move and make sure he keeps on the straight and narrow. Should he finally figure out how to do that, Mathieu could be a productive player here.