Tyrann Mathieu will have plenty of eyes on him as he heads into his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals -- and plenty of doubters. The former LSU star saw his college career fall apart amid off-field issues, then was entered into the NFL's drug program upon being drafted, meaning the league can test him up to 10 times per month.
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock was somewhat on the fence about Mathieu heading into the draft. But even though Mayock kept his comments on Mathieu rather tame, the player known as the "Honey Badger" still plans to use those words as motivation:
Mayock described Mathieu as "a better football player than an athlete" on multiple occasions before the draft, before pegging him as a mid-round pick. (In fact, Mayock announced on the NFL Network's draft broadcast that he had "won a bet" with an NFL coach by predicting that Mathieu would not be a top-50 draft choice.)
Mathieu eventually came off the board at No. 69 overall, landing in a pretty solid situation with the Cardinals. There, he is teammates with Patrick Peterson, who Mathieu named at the NFL Scouting Combine as one of the people in his "support system."
"Patrick Peterson, Darelle Revis, Morris Claiborne, Corey Webster from the Giants. All those guys are pretty much my support system right now," Mathieu said. "I call those guys, talk to those guys on a daily basis. They give me great advice."
Mathieu has not played a snap since the 2011 season at LSU, so his learning curve could be steep as a rookie. If nothing else, though, it does not appear that he's lost his confidence.