Saturday, February 2, 2013

Prospect Profile: CB Tyrann Mathieu - LSU

Name:  Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu
Height:  5' - 9"
Weight:  180 lbs.
Class:  Junior (DNP in 2012)
Hometown:  New Orleans, LA
Date of Birth:  May 12, 1992 (20 years old)
High School:  St. Augustine High School

Tigers Career:

2012 Junior Year: Dismissed from the team August 10, 1992 for violating team rules.....vowed to come back the following year but later withdrew from the university a week later and entered a drug rehab program in October was arrested with former LSU teammates for possession of marijuana.

2011 Sophomore Year: MVP of SEC Championship game.... recipient of the Chuck Benarik Award....Heisman Trophy Finalist.....suspended for one game in October for violation of LSU's drug policy.....finished the season with 76 total tackles (59 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 2 interceptions, 9 passes broken up, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries with 2 touchdowns.....27 punt returns for 421 yards (15.6 average) and 2 touchdowns.

2010 Freshman Year: Defensive MVP of Cotton Bowl as a true freshman.....played in all 13 games with one start, finishing the year with 57 total tackles (34 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 2 interceptions, 7 passes broken up, 5 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

2011 Sophomore Highlights:

2010 Freshman Highlights:

+ Instincts and football awareness are his top traits
Playmaker, from punt returns to returning fumbles for TDs, has a knack for big plays
Adept at jumping routes and breaks to the ball effectively; tracks the ball well in the air
Ballhawk who always tries to create turnovers 
Very competitive and plays with a chip on his shoulder; plays bigger than his size
Willing tackler in run support
Good blitzer off the edge 
Plays well in the spotlight

Weaknesses (-):
- Big red flags after multiple suspensions for drugs and getting kicked off the team
Lacks ideal measurables at the position
More quick than fast, displays average straight line speed
Puts himself in bad tackling positions in run support trying to go for the strip
Inconsistent technique of squaring up and breaking down in space
Aggressiveness on the field sometimes leaves him susceptible to double moves and pump fakes

Player Comparison: CB Brandon Carr - Kansas City

NFL Draft Outlook
Tyrann Mathieu's stock is a wildcard in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Prior to his ultimate dismissal from LSU and his subsequent drug arrest and rehab, Mathieu was seen by many as one of the top defensive players going into the 2012 college football season.  His play was befitting of his Honey Badger moniker.  NFL scouts and front offices will have to do a lot of homework and interviews to see if Mathieu is a player worth taking the risk on draft day.  Outside of his off-field issues, if Mathieu were 3 inches taller, he would probably been seen as a sure-fire top 15 pick.  Now working with former teammate Patrick Peterson in preparation of the upcoming Combine, Mathieu looks like he's heading in the right direction to repair his image.  In terms of sheer talent, Mathieu is the ultimate competitor who's play can set the tempo for the entire defense.  If he doesn't show that he has the speed to play outside, his future may be playing the slot corner position, which in today's NFL, is on the field the majority of the time.  His penchant for creating turnovers and his football instincts will get him drafted, but where and when he goes will be largely dictated by team interviews.

Raiders Outlook:
Reggie McKenzie has shown in his short time in Oakland, that character plays a big part in the types of prospects he targets.  Having said that, it remains unseen if Tyrann Mathieu's rehabilitation of his image is enough for McKenzie to consider him, even if he is available after the 3rd round.  On the football field, Mathieu has a lot to offer, and if his off-field issues are behind him, he would be a great value pick in terms of talent in the 4th round or later.  His strength as a playmaker is something that would be a welcomed addition to the Raiders defense that was sorely lacking in that department last season.  He is also versatile enough to play multiple positions in the secondary and provide a spark in the punt return game.  The Honey Badger has the potential to easily become a fan favorite in Oakland if everything falls into place. 

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