How Mathieu impacted Keim’s draft philosophy

Posted by Darren Urban on February 16, 2016 – 8:13 am

Safety Tyrann Mathieu at some point is going to get a new contract from the Cardinals. He’s been perfect for the franchise, both on the field and off it, even with all the questions about him coming out of college. General Manager Steve Keim, in fact, acknowledged Tuesday that Mathieu — who was Keim’s third-round pick in Keim’s first draft as a GM — actually has had an impact on Keim’s draft philosophy.

“Going into my first draft as a GM, there’s no way I thought a player like Tyrann Mathieu should get a second chance,” Keim said during the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “Now that we gave Tyrann that chance and he’s become the player and the person that is is, he’s changed my thinking on that a little bit that some — some — players deserve second chances.”

It’s a pretty significant acknowledgment. But it’s also worth noting that Keim emphasized that only “some” should get a second chance in his eyes. There are things to figure out from a player who is about to be drafted and those frequently intangible things are what would sway Keim one way or the other.

Keim has to see a player who is “genuinely embarrassed” for whatever mistake might have been made. Keim also needs to believe in a player’s passion for the game, which is something he is searching for from every single one of his draft picks anyway. Mathieu had that passion (which is easily seen daily now) and a love, and Keim was certain that Mathieu understood the Cardinals would be his last chance.

There are a lot of parts of the Mathieu story that helped get him drafted (the Patrick Peterson connection perhaps the most important) but that Mathieu’s impact reached all the way to Keim’s core beliefs is just another reason why Mathieu has been so important to this franchise.

Oh, and when asked about Mathieu’s potential contract extension and whether his two ACL tears could push the Cards to do a shorter deal, Keim made it clear — the Cardinals want to work out a long-term deal with the Honey Badger.

Tyrann Mathieu



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23 Responses to “How Mathieu impacted Keim’s draft philosophy”

  1. By Scott H on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    When you watch what goes on with players like Greg Hardy and Johnny Manziel – and the you hear the public reaction to them – how great is it to have great stories like Matthieu and great character guys like Fitz and Carson Palmer associated with our team?

    No, the Cardinals have not been perfect ( D Wash, J Dwyer ) but no team in the NFL has been at this point. But at least we are not going out and bringing in criminals like Hardy ( AFTER the horrific things he did were known to everyone ) and THEN having our owner proclaim him one of the leaders on our team. IF I had been a Cowboys fan and I heard my owner saying that, I think I would have walked away at that point. Because if you are even TRYING to be a decent human being, how could you NOT walk away from a team that supports that kind of player???

    The words I would use to describe Jerry Jones at this point are words I cannot even use here. He is an idiot, a despicable human being, and he might as well be a criminal himself for supporting criminals like Hardy. And for that reason, I can only bask in the glory of having guys like MB, SK, and BA running MY team. We really do have it good, folks!

  2. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    Sounds like he is setting the stage to trade up and land Noah Spence.

    Yep, a guy like Tyrann, who left his college and had to rebuild his life.

    He also is a guy who can be a game changer on the field.

    The #1 offseason need, according to Keim, is a pass rusher. This guy fits the bill.

  3. By All Day on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t have a problem locking up the badger..: BUT with ACL’s it’s hard to tell how a player will come back especially in this case with one in each knee now how will his speed an explosion be? That’s the only problem with a contract right now with Tyrann is because he may not be the same and he’s gonna be looking at a lot of money. I’m not hating Mathieu is my favorite player on the team but to you have to look at the facts and be cautious so you don’t pay someone and have him not come back the same than miss an opportunity at a great player (Wilkerson) because you couldn’t afford him.
    Two guys I hope we get a chance at Jaylon Smith ILB Notre Dame and Jake Coker QB Alabama. Both would be good players to build with Coker needs time but he’s a future started in the NFL. Smith is crazy fast he had 4.35-4.4 speed can cover and Tackles very well.

  4. By John on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I think everybody has overblown Tyrann Mathieu’s issues in college. We are talking about somebody who smoked marijuana in college. This is not shocking for a college student to do, and it is not the type of crime I would look at and conclude he has serious character flaws because of it. How many NFL draft prospects do you think smoked marijuana or consumed alcohol under the age of 21? We spent the 15th overall pick on player who was suspended from his team and demoted as captain after being arrested for a DUI. While we all make mistakes, I think somebody driving a vehicle drunk and putting other people’s lives at risk shows deeper flaws as a person than does sitting in a friend’s apartment smoking marijuana. The same could be said about this year’s league MVP who in college stole somebody’s laptop and threw it out of his dorm window in attempts to hide the evidence from the police (and resulting in an obstruction of justice charge).

    All I am trying to say is that I never considered Tyrann Mathieu’s “off field issues” to be as horrible as everybody else seemed to think, and I don’t think he was anymore of a risk than the others I mentioned.

    I am proud to have Tyrann Mathieu on our team and excited to lock him up long term. But let’s not make what happened at LSU anymore than it actually was.

  5. By Darren Urban on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    John —

    RE: Marijuana

    Here’s the the No. 1 example why your thinking is flawed in terms of the NFL: Daryl Washington

    As long as the rules are in place that say marijuana is a violation of the league’s policies, teams have to make hard decisions about guys who have that issue — like Mathieu, like Washington. The Cardinals paid Washington $10 million in bonuses and for that they have lost a playmaker they were counting on, plus had the drama of it hanging around for two years.

  6. By krehbieo14 on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply


    Agree. Keim might have just set the table for the possibility of moving up in the draft to take Spence. Good call.

  7. By Andy Kw on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    We are all on the Noah Spence train. Let’s get him!

  8. By Steve on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    Darren: We know Daryl Washington is not coming back to the Cards or to the NFL in all likelihood, what is your opinion as to why he decided to throw his career away?

  9. By Darren Urban on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: DWash

    Can’t say. Haven’t talked to Daryl since right before he was suspended.

  10. By Steve on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG, Andy, Krehbieo14- Would love getting Noah Spence but I think he goes top 15 in the draft which would make it hard for Keim to package the kind of picks needed to move up that far. Kyler Fackrell of Utah St and Leonard Floyd might be other possibilities in the 1st round.

  11. By Andy Kw on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I like Leonard Floyd because he has good burst and speed off the edge. I dislike the fact that he doesn’t have much strength. Needs more muscle and weight a little more to reach his full potential. He is like a WR play OLB.

  12. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    Trading up,

    Looking at the history of trading up in round 1;

    To look at comparable trades to get close to top 15.

    In 2015, the broncos traded up from 28 to get in the 23rd spot to land Shane Ray. They gave up two 5th round picks and a player.

    In 2014, The saints moved up from 27 to 20 and gave up a third rounder.

    In 2013, the rams gave up a 2nd rounder to move up from 16 to 8th overall. While the niners gave up a 3rd rounder (high third) to cowboys to move from 31st to 18th. In the same first round the Falcons gave up a late third rounder to jump up from 30th to 22nd.

    So, if the cards are jumping from 29th to 15th, it will take of course the 29th pick and a second rounder. Hard ball could be a 2nd rounder and an additional late pick , like a 5th or 6th.

    If they want to get into the top 10, it would surely cost them a first rounder in 2016 and 17. But if you want to get into the top 6-7 players, you can look at the Falcons and Browns of 2011, The Falcons gave up a first rounder in 2011 and 2012, along with a 2nd rouner in 2011 to land Julio Jones.

    Looking back, who can blame the Falcons giving up so much to land a top receiver for Matty Ice.

    So much of this draft is the QBs. Dallas, Cleveland, Houston, Niners, Eagles, rams and possibly the saints, bears and jets might draft QBs. We could see trading and movement by these teams.

    Me personally, I think Keim waits to see if Spence drops out of the top 10 first. I don’t see him going that high. He might even see if he could reach 15. The rams are sitting at 15 and really do need to draft a QB. Let’s say they like Cook but think 15 is too high. Maybe they move down to 29 and pick up a 3rd and 6th rounders from the cards. But then again, the rams do have the Texans and Jets picking after them. So. can they afford to drop if they want a certain QB.

    There is so many factors before the draft but I would like to see the trade up to land Spence.

  13. By John on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    RE: Marijuana


    I think an article titled “How Washington Impacted Kiem’s Draft Philosophy” would perhaps more fitting because I think Washington’s failure influenced Kiem’s draft philosophy far more than Mathieu’s success. Since Washington’s year long suspension (and what is probably the end of his career in the NFL), I think the organization has played it safe because of Washington more than it has taken risks because of Mathieu.

    You make a good point about Washington, but I think it is also important to note that when Kiem drafted Mathieu, Washington had only received a four game suspension…,disappointing but not uncommon (even Von Miller received a four-game suspension). It was not until the end of Mathieu’s first year when the NFL suspended Washington for the upcoming season. So when Kiem drafted Mathieu, the organization had yet to fully feel and be influenced by the damage Washington later would cause. At the time, I don’t think Mathieu was really that big of a risk (3rd round pick), and I don’t think his actions concerned me as much as they did other people. Are you worried more about the person who steals computers from his peers and tries to hide the evidence from police? Or the guy who got caught smoking marijuana in an apartment with his friends?

    I think what you are saying is that in today’s NFL, a person who can’t pass a drug test is a risk, and I would agree. But that was not the climate when we drafted Mathieu. The season AFTER we drafted Mathieu, players like Daryl Washington, Justin Blackmon (I bet most of us haven’t heard his name in a while), and Aldon Smith ran into trouble with the league’s year long/indefinite suspensions.

    I think Washington’s failure will always be in Keim’s mind during the draft. This is one of the few players this organization has moved up in the draft to get (second round of the 2010 draft, 47th overall), and we gave a big extension to him. With so much talk about the need for a pass rush this past season, I could not help but think about how good Washington’s pressure was from straight up the middle, and I could not help but think this season may have been different had we had that type of pressure.

    I would be curious to hear from Steve Kiem about how much Daryl Washington has changed his draft philosophy (despite his annoyance with fielding questions about a player who is not on the team).

  14. By krehbieo14 on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply


    Steve Keim did not draft Daryl Washington, so I would suspect that the impact from DWash is marginal on his perspective. I am sure he was PO’d about the extension that Washington stole, but I see that situation as an anomoly, ie Blackmon, etc.

  15. By JD on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    Tyrann failed multiple drug tests indicating a pattern and the inability to stop even when it could cause him to lose his chance at gaining or keeping an NFL career. He was arrested with someone who had enough pot to be charged with intent to distribute. This made drafting him a big risk to take even with a third rounder which can often be used for an expected starter depending on positional depth and a team’s needs. I did like the move because I had faith they had really gotten to know him before making the call, but it was a high risk/high reward move that has paid off big.

    DWash’s issues cannot be minimal for SK. He didn’t draft him, but he extended his contract and he has to continue dealing with the fallout now. Without knowing details that aren’t released DWash seems to be a cautionary tale while HB is an inspirational story of overcoming this type of issue.

  16. By PottedPlant on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I feel like this should be repeated over and over:


    Of course, the league knows, but they aren’t allowed to tell, per the CBA. The only people that can talk about it are the player and his rep. Does anybody actually believe they are telling the truth? Doesn’t it seem odd that every guilty player was “just using weed”, or that every steroid user was actually “just taking Adderall to concentrate”? They use these excuses because weed and Adderall use are easily defended by the fans, AND nobody from the league can refute it.

    Here’s the thing, the players only have to take a recreational drug test in May or June. “We’re warned at the very first meeting of May minicamp/OTAs by the head athletic trainer: ‘Annuals are this week … If you don’t get tested this week, you will be tested in June.'” Unless they are repeat offenders, they are tested once per season. “The whole thing is a joke. When players fail a test, other players say, ‘What an idiot … He couldn’t stop for a month?'”

    Even if it is just weed for which they are being caught, only a fool would actually fail a test. (and this is coming from a daily smoker for over 20 years)

  17. By Andy Kw on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I want Chris Johnson back!!!! CJ2K we all want you back in the #birdgang

    If it doesn’t happen, Joique Bell should be an option.

  18. By CreditCard on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    More than likely Spence will be selected before the 15th pick (all teams want an edge rusher — even Denver with Ware, Miller and Ray on their team).

    My guess, a player that will be on the boards and probably go as a high 2nd round pick is Robert Nkemdiche, who draft status has dropped due to being previously charged with marijuana use. Good looking talent, but has had character issues.

    Cards could pick him up in early 2nd round. If possible I would trade down their 1st round pick to some gullible team for a high 2nd rounder and if possible a low 3rd rounder. My opinion, Nkemdiche would be a good fit for he Cards. I still say a very good interior D-line (especially NT) can cause offenses all sorts of grief, and make ordinary outside linebackers look like all-world studs.

  19. By Big Ken on Feb 16, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t see the Cardinals trading up in the first round. With the Rams? Oh no. I say stay at 29. Plenty of good edge rushers.

  20. By Scott H on Feb 17, 2016 | Reply

    Andy KW –

    I am with you in that I would like to see CJ back for next year. Hate to say it – because I like Ellington – but I think he offers more than Ellington does, even with the differences in their ages.

    But how do you see DAVID Johnson’s late-season surge playing into what they do with CJ? During the majority of the season, CJ seemed like a gift from the Gods and bringing him back next season seemed a no brainer. Ellington was out ( again ), DJ had a limited role, and CJ was carrying the load while putting up some of the best RB numbers in the league.

    Then, DJ got his chance and….WOW! I have to think he is clearly the lead dog going into next year. And he should be. BUT I think CJ would be a great complement to him in our backfield and I DO want him back for 2016.

    I just wonder if the team’s thinking has changed any on this issue after DJ got a chance to show what he can do. I would think they would want him back, but I wonder if THEIR price range has changed.

    I’m hoping CJ will not be another Karlos Dansby, using one very good season with the Cardinals to cash in for the best price he can get somewhere else. Gotta figure that older players have to consider that.

  21. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 17, 2016 | Reply

    Credit Card and Big Ken;

    I wasn’t saying what to do, just giving possibilities. Again, I said I think Keim (not me) will see if Spence gets out of the top 10 range and maybe as low as 15, then make a move similar to SF and Dallas in 2013.

    I do see QB as a driving factor in what happens in the draft. If , for some reason, Dallas and Cleveland do not take QBs, you could see a Houston or Jets coming up the board. Maybe the Rams.

    With this kind of movement, it could throw off boards completely.

  22. By Dr.G. on Feb 20, 2016 | Reply

    FYI Cards Fans…. For those of you who thought Keim didn’t draft Washington, he was the Director of Player Personnel during that time. You can bet he had much influence… I give him and others a mulligan for drafting this future ignigmatic disappointment. No mas, por favor…
    The Badger has shown character and willpower to this point… DWash has none…!

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