Tyrann Mathieu, aka the Honey Badger, wowed college football — and pro scouts — with his playmaking ability as a junior. He revealed a far different side as a senior, causing him to miss the entire season. Mathieu went from a playmaker to a troubled kid thanks to multiple positive drug tests, causing LSU to suspend him for the season.
Thus the question: Where should he go? It’s a tricky situation for anyone drafting him. Talent is great, but players must be available and reliable first and foremost. Mathieu’s troubled past makes him a gamble.
But not every team will be scared away by his behavior. That’s why the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock calls the 5-foot-9, 178-pound Mathieu an “interesting wild card this weekend.”
“My gut tells me he’s a better player than an athlete,” Mayock said. “He’s small and doesn’t run well but teams will look at him as a nickel back and a kick returner. I don’t think he’ll run better than a 4.5 or 4.55 [at the combine]. If he does that will help him. Most teams that I’ve talked to have him more in the fourth round because they don’t think he’s big and won’t run fast and he’s had off-field issues. That could change with a good time. He’s an intriguing guy.”
Here are some names at cornerback Mayock said the Redskins should consider: Marc Anthony (Cal) and Blidi Wreh-Wilson (UConn). Some analysts do not rate either player in the second or third round area. Of the two Wilson has a chance at going in the third round.
And Mayock pointed out two small school players: Robert Alford (Southwestern Louisiana State) and B.W. Webb (William & Mary). Alford could get into the second round; both might go in the third. Mayock also singled out Rutgers’ Logan Ryan, projected as a second-round pick.
The combine will be interesting for the corners at the top as well, mainly because the big question marks for the top three corners — Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Washington’s Desmond Trufant and Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks — all centers on their speed. Milliner is expected to be the first corner drafted.
“No one knows who the second corner is,” Mayock said in a conference call Monday. “That’s one thing that could be answered this weekend.”