How The Honey Badger Compare to Polamalu & Ed Reed? – BlackSportsOnline
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How The Honey Badger Compare to Polamalu & Ed Reed?

Honey Badger

Tyrann Mathieu’s road to the NFL was everything but guaranteed after his well documented troubles in college while at LSU. His talent was never in doubt but the maturity, most scouts are looking for in prospects, was just not there.

During his rehabilitation process, he decided to turn his life around and showed enough to the Arizona Cardinals who decided to draft him in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Since he has been in the NFL, the “Honey Badger” is showing that the Cardinals were right to trust him. Mathieu is displaying some skills you can’t necessarily teach drawing comparisons to some of the best defensive players that have played the game. His quarterback, Carson Palmer, who has been in Arizona since his rookie year, believes he is a mix of two of the most fierce defenders in the history of the NFL.

“I had the privilege of playing against Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed for a long time and I think those two guys are the two best defensive guys I’ve ever faced,” Palmer said, via CSN Philly’s Dave Zangaro. “And [Mathieu] is a mix of both of them. He’s right down the middle between Ed and Troy. He understands the game. He sees the game before plays happen. If you miss a ball, he will intercept it. You’ve got to be right on with your accuracy around him, just like Ed. Ed was the exact same way. He’s got some skill to him. He’ll just jump a play like Troy and guess and be right what seems like all the time.”

This is a pretty high compliment for a player who is only in his third season but you have to recognize that Mathieu has a big impact on one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. Opposing coaches have noticed and it includes Chip Kelly, who will have to deal with his presence when the Eagles face the Cardinals this weekend.

“He’s an unbelievable competitor first and foremost,” Kelly acknowledged. “He just kind of plays the game with a passion. He seems like he has a nose for the football. He rises up to all the challenges even though he’s a little shorter than most guys in the secondary. That doesn’t seem to affect him. He did a great job covering Jimmy Graham when they played Seattle, where maybe a lot of people wouldn’t have looked at that challenge. He’s got outstanding ball skills. He was a really good returner. He always seems to have a way to be around the football and a knack for making plays at critical points in time during games. The one thing you notice about him is his competitiveness.”

He will need to continue to play at a high level for a lot of years to earn those comparisons but he is already a premier defender in the league. Josh Norman is having an incredible year for the undefeated Panthers and you have to mention J.J. Watt in any conversation regarding Defensive Player of the year but Tyrann Mathieu will be a top candidate as well. His story is even more remarkable because of the hurdles he had to overcome to just make it to the NFL and build his name as an elite player and not a distraction for his team.