With former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu declaring his intent to enter the NFL draft, the obvious question becomes when will he be drafted?
We cast the net on Thursday, and there’s a school of thought that he’s headed for round four.
Of course, if only one team thinks more highly of the Honey Badger, he could go higher than round four. For now, though, the middle rounds are where he’d likely go — if the draft were held today.
One evaluator said that Mathieu was a better college player and hype machine than pro prospect. He projects to be a reserve defensive back and a kick returner at the next level, with his return skills being regarded as more valuable than his coverage skills.
Another said that Mathieu is a quick, instinctive, tough playmaker in the slot. But his size and character will be major concerns.
The fact that Rams rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins is looking like a second-round steal could help Mathieu. But there are major differences between the two players. Jenkins found a landing spot and turned himself around after getting kicked out of Florida. Mathieu bottomed out after getting the boot from LSU, and he will have gone a full season without playing at the time he enters the draft.
Based on numerous reports, Mathieu’s major problem seems to be an affinity for marijuana. Most NFL teams don’t care if guys smoke it; the problem arises when a player, when forced to choose between marijuana and football, chooses marijuana.
Mathieu’s biggest challenge will be persuading teams that he is now choosing football. And that he’s not just saying what he thinks he needs to say. If he can do that, and if he can generate some positive buzz with his physical skills during the pre-draft workouts, he could move up as April approaches.