.. about his football career.
Former Heisman runner-up Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the LSU football team earlier this summer for unknown reasons. Rumors circulated and word got out that it was due to a positive drug test – and that it wasn’t the first.
Matthieu first was rumored to be looking at a number of division II schools to work on his game and enter the draft at the end of the season (much like 2012 second rounder and former SEC corner Janoris Jenkins). However then Mathieu came out and essentially begged to be let back into the LSU program, saying he would be willing to sit out the season and get his head on straight in order to play for the Tigers again.
Nothing was heard from the Honey Badger as he sat out the year, that is until he was arrested this week for being found in an apartment that contained 10 bags of high quality marijuana.
Matthieu was released Friday and has been charged with a simple possession charge. Les Miles had left the door open for allowing the Honey Badger to return after sitting out the year, it seems unlikely he would pay him the courtesy after this incident.
Matthieu’s draft stock peaked after his Heisman Finalist season last year when he, the heart and soul of the LSU defense, seemed to be hard-nosed, gritty player with a knack for making plays. He was a do-it-all guy for the Tigers who made plays on special teams and made highlight after highlight playing a “joker”-type role for the LSU defense.
It was at this time that Mathieu was considered by some to be a first round pick. He wasn’t the biggest player, being only about 5’8″ and 180 pounds, or the most athletic, but he had a nose for the ball and could return kicks. Many believed his size would hurt him as an outside corner, but his playmaking abilities could be utilized in a safety/nickel back role.
He was somewhat of an enigma as a prospect but many believed he would at least go in the second round to a team needing a spark on defense. However, after being kicked off the team and now this arrest, there are many questioning if he will even be looked at by teams. There are rumors that agents are scared of signing him, which is a huge red flag.
Matthieu would have only been a junior this year, and is only 20 years old. He could still go the division II route, stay out of the headlines for 18 months, and re-enter the draft, or he could just bail for the 2013 draft coming up. Matthieu has not commented since being released.
I believe his best role in the NFL is similar to the how the Tennessee Titans, and now St. Louis Rams, utilize Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan is another undersized corner that is feisty and has a nose for the football. The Rams have utilized him primarily on the inside (nickel) position and occasionally let him scoot outside and beat up receivers at the line before passing them to a safety. I think Matthieu would be perfect for this role, and after the 2012 draft, I drew up a little 2013 mock for fun where I had the Rams taking Matthieu with their second round pick. It seems to be the perfect scheme for him, would provide him time to learn behind a vet, and they were the team that took the chance on a similarly troubled player in Janoris Jenkins.
Now Matthieu’s stock is at an all time low. Players with half his talent get drafted every year, and I would have to think that someone would take a chance on him on Day three.. but it is hard to see anyone taking him any earlier than that at this point. There are major concerns that these are not marijuana issues, they are lifestyle issues. If major changes aren’t made, the Honey Badger may smoke himself out of a promising NFL career.