Tyrann Mathieu’s bench press may call his work ethic into question

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Former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu remains one of the biggest question marks in this year’s NFL draft. And his performance on the bench press at the Scouting Combine may raise more questions.

Mathieu managed to bench 225 pounds just four times, an extremely low total for any NFL player — even a kicker. (The only kicker who benched at this year’s Combine, Arizona State’s Josh Hubner, managed 13 reps.) Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said on NFL Network this morning that Mathieu’s bench press total calls into question whether he’s been working hard in the weight room.

“It does concern me, because if he was working, obviously — I can bench four times, probably,” Zimmer said.

Mathieu was out of football last year after getting kicked off the team at LSU, and his work ethic has been called into question in the past. It’s easy to scoff at the bench press as irrelevant to what a defensive back does on a football field, but an extremely low bench press is indicative of a player who isn’t working hard enough in the weight room.

At 186 pounds, Mathieu is one of the smallest defensive backs at this year’s Combine, but just being small isn’t an excuse for a weak performance on the bench. Adrian Bushell of Louisville weighed in at exactly the same weight as Mathieu and did 17 reps, and Jamar Taylor of Boise State is only six pounds heavier than Mathieu and did 22 reps.

Not being able to bench a lot doesn’t mean Mathieu can’t make it in the NFL. But it might mean he doesn’t have a good work ethic. And if he doesn’t work hard, he won’t make it in the NFL.

27 responses to “Tyrann Mathieu’s bench press may call his work ethic into question

  1. At least he showed up a lifted. He didn’t wimp out like that disgrace Teo. I wish nothing but the best for Mathieu, and all the worst for that liar Teo. All fans with brains will agree with me. Thank you in advance mortals.

  2. I think this was a deliberate ploy to purposly wow teams on his pro day. And realistically nobody expected him to have crazy numbers considering he missed an entire year of football.

  3. Looks like hes got really long arms – That makes it harder to do as many reps as the short arm squaty guys.

  4. Bench press does relate to what a CB can do in game. Being stronger improves your ability to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage.

    As for Mathieu, this guy is a recipe for disaster. Doesn’t have a clear position, sucks in man coverage, has a small frame but likes to deliver big hits, gambles too much, bad work ethic, issues with drugs.

  5. Many CBs don’t even do the bench press at the combine. 4 reps does seem pretty darn weak, but good for him for trying.

  6. Must be EXTREMELY cool to be a kicker and get 13 reps. Good for that guy.

    The work ethic questions about Mathieu are valid…but anybody who watched his last year unfold already knew there were red flags on him. Not a lot of guys enter the NFL already having needed to go through a full-fledged drug treatment program.

  7. You can play the semantics game as much as you’d like but in your post from 9:09 this morning you absolutely did question his work ethic. Using the word “might” as in it “might mean he doesn’t have a good work ethic” really doesn’t change this.

  8. 4 reps is bizarre.

    It doesn’t give the impression that he wants to play bad enough, because somebody in his situation is expected to do all of the right things. And the #1 right thing to do was to get proper coaching and advice to prepare for this day, and he clearly was not prepared for this day. He still has a lot of talent and upside, but at some point he has to decide to want to work to improve himself, and he doesn’t strike me as the type that can do it on his own, he has to get hooked up with the right support team to help him and I doubt he has made wide choices there, otherwise he would have had more than 4 reps (barring any legitimate excuse as to why it was only 4).

  9. Kind of similar to Janoris Jenkins but not quite the same. However, I would love the Vikings to take a gamble on him in the 3rd round. Him and Percy would be boys for sure!! ha

  10. Not really.

    If he’s a good hitter on tape that’s enough to prove how strong he is!

    I’ve seen guys get drafted after doing 6 reps of the 225.

    Players like Andre Smith and Jon Beason did 19 reps and were 1st rounders when they should have done at least 24.

  11. 2 years ago i had a max bench of 145, and within a year i was able to bench 300 (could do 225 12 times).

    I’d say he should be able to do more than 225 four times if you’re going to be an elite athlete or bring down people w\strength of a veteran nfl football player.

    The point of the 225 bench is to evaluate your muscle endurance and shows how long you’ve been seriously lifting for.

  12. IIRC, Fred Smoot has zero reps when attempting the bench & he turned out pretty well. That said, Mathieu is no Smoot when it comes to talent. He could be a great ST player but a full time CB may be a stretch. His last game on the public stage wasn’t too impressive against a team he was very familiar with.

  13. One of the kickers benched 225 13 times . I’m a professional chef and if a kicker can bench more than me I’d call it a day and slit my wrists. It’s the only honorable thing to do

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