Tyrann Mathieu impresses at Cardinals minicamp

USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu had SI's Peter King buzzing at practice the other day.

Tyrann Mathieu has been impressive at Arizona Cardinals minicamp, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King. The long-time SI scribe was at practice the other day and watched the rookie make plays all over the field at safety.

Mathieu, working with the first unit for part of the practice, made a diving pass break-up of a Palmer throw and was buzzing around plays all through the workout. The first thing you notice about Mathieu is his size -- at 5-9, he's probably three inches shy of what's optimal for the position -- and the second is his instinct. He's clearly at home on the practice field, pointing out coverages pre-snap and changing direction smoothly.

Carson Palmer likened Mathieu to Troy Polamalu, a player who is not the "fastest guy out there, but he can change directions and get to the ball really fast." That is extremely high praise for any young player, much less one who was taken in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

King points out that there is a big difference between looking good with pads off and pads on. Still, so far so good for one of the more enigmatic rookies of the 2013 draft class.

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