We’re hoping the Cardinals are right about Tyrann Mathieu, and not just because the “Honey Badger” has the best nickname in sports.

Arizona’s controversial third-round draft choice, despite being (maybe) 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, was the most dynamic defensive player in college football when he last played at Louisiana State in 2011. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist with a knack for making the biggest plays at the biggest moments as a cornerback and return specialist.

His talent is intoxicating.

Dez Bryant, the Cowboys wide receiver, tweeted out before the recent NFL draft that Mathieu was the “best player in draft” with the hashtag #gamechanger.

Of course, Mathieu didn’t get to prove that at LSU last season. He was kicked off the team for violating team rules. Reportedly, he tested positive for marijuana as many as 10 times while at LSU.

He spent four weeks in the Houston drug-rehab and counseling program of John Lucas, the former NBA player and coach whose own career was sidetracked by substance abuse.

Then he raised red flags again right before the draft when he missed a couple of scheduled pre-draft workouts for teams, saying that he was ill.

The Cardinals took him in the third round and announced they’ll move him to free safety. There was a report, since debunked by Mathieu’s agent to our Cardinals beat reporter Kent Somers, that he would sign a contract with no guaranteed money.

But it is true that Mathieu, as he promised when he was selected, will agree to a random drug-testing program. He also has the advantage of two former LSU teammates to keep an eye on him.

Will it work?

Well, history provides a long, sad list of similar talented athletes that teams gambled on and lost. All washed out. Some ended up in jail.

Hashtag them #risk2reward.

They include Maurice Clarett, Lawrence Phillips and Charles Rogers in the NFL.

Isaiah Rider, Roy Tarpley, Vin Baker, Micheal Ray Richardson, William Bedford, Chris Washburn, Lloyd “Sweet Pea” Daniels in the NBA.

Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe, Darryl Strawberry in baseball.

There’s another list, too, of those who have overcome their demons, for now at least. It’s much shorter.

Lucas is on it. So is Angels slugger Josh Hamilton and Chris “Birdman” Andersen of the Miami Heat.