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Mathieu Moving Up?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2013 – 9:57 pm

LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu – a.k.a. “Honey Badger” – was straight-forward while meeting with the media and presumably with NFL teams during the Combine, saying he is ready to shed his checkered past and earn the trust of franchises.

“My best friend right now is honesty,” Mathieu said over the weekend.

But there was another straight-forward development regarding Mathieu at the Combine, and this one came on Tuesday. Suffice it to say: he’s got game.

Mathieu was one of the day’s top performers in Indianapolis. His performance in many of the timed or measured physical tests was solid-not-sensational. His 40-yard dash time is sufficient enough to eliminate doubts about his speed.

More importantly, in my opinion, are the on-field drills. And that’s where Mathieu impressed the most. That’s where he feels comfortable. That’s where he’s the Honey Badger.

How Mathieu’s medical examination and interview process unfolded at the Combine is something only the 32 NFL teams know, but what was publically visible of Mathieu’s Combine experience turned out to be up and down. My sense is that the up was higher than the down was low. While his time spent in the media center could be described as strange at best, his performance on the field Tuesday was outstanding. I won’t go so far as to say he stole the show, but there’s no question he was among the day’s more impressive performers. He has confidence, a cocksure demeanor and an aura around him that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Let me be clear again: what I’ve seen of Mathieu is a mere snapshot of what it takes to author a complete evaluation of a player leading up to the draft. I don’t have his medical information, I don’t know his character background, I don’t know how he tested psychologically. All I can go off of is what I see and what I’m told. I haven’t been told anything about Mathieu from insiders. I have watched many of his college games and all of his Combine experience. He clearly loves to play football and he appears most comfortable on the field.

His size is nowhere near ideal, as he measured in at 5-9, 186 pounds. But haven’t we learned by now that “he’s too small” should only go so far? “He’s too small” is what caused Russell Wilson to be drafted in the 3rd round last year. “He’s too small” hasn’t stopped London Fletcher, or Darren Sproles, or Antoine Winfield.

What will stop the Honey Badger? I’m not sure. But I’m pretty sure it won’t be his on-field ability.


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Combine Concludes On Tuesday – VEN Coverage Continues

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2013 – 9:12 am

Tuesday is the final day of the 2013 Scouting Combine, so there’s not much to break down in terms of the schedule. By now, you surely know the drill. Here it is…

DBs: On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure from Indianapolis

Tune in all day today and the rest of this week as we keep you up-to-date on Combine action and also provide plenty of reaction to what happened in Indianapolis over the last week.


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Rounding Up Monday’s Combine Action

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2013 – 7:10 am

Monday was a travel day for the Vikings Entertainment Network, as we departed Indianapolis and headed home to Minneapolis. But the Combine action continued without us, and by all accounts Monday’s action was entertaining. Defensive linemen and linebackers hit the field for their workouts and drills, while defensive backs went through psychological testing, the bench press and team interviews.

Here’s a quick recap of Monday’s action at the Combine…

– After reading NFL.com and watching NFL Network Monday night to catch up on the day’s action, my sense is it was a mixed day for Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o. It wasn’t a great day for Te’o in terms of the time runs and some of the other measured tests. With that being said, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said that after Te’o’s timed runs and jump, he put together a “solid” day on the field. And isn’t that where it matters most, on the field? Yes is the answer to that question. My guess at this point is that whatever grade teams had on Te’o before the Combine, they’ll probably have the same grade on him once they reconvene this week for their post-Combine meetings. His session with the media couldn’t have gone better, and that leads me to believe he’ll leave many teams impressed after interviewing with them. Needless to say, his pro day at Notre Dame on March 26 is going to be HUGE.

– It’s clear that Oregon DE/LB Dion Jordan had perhaps the best day of anyone in Indianapolis. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com said Jordan was a “freak” to watch in person and even suggested he could be a Top 5 pick. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said that when he sees Jordon on tape, it reminds him of a “raw Aldon Smith.” The one caveat to Jordan’s stock skyrocketing is that he will have shoulder surgery soon, which will give teams in the top part of the 1st round another issue to evaluate before feeling comfortable with his future.

– Other DEs who impressed on Monday included BYU’s Ziggy Ansah, SMU’s Margus Hunt, LSU’s Barkevious Mingo and Missouri Southern State’s Brandon Williams. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com said this of Ansah: “Ansah flashed impressive movement skills and the ability to change direction while executing pass-rush moves and zone drops on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Evaluators are completely smitten with Ansah’s athleticism, speed and movement skills; the stock of the BYU star has soared through the roof in recent days.”

Hunt was at the Senior Bowl and has an interesting back story that I’ll be sure to get into as we approach the draft in the coming month or so.

– As for DTs, there’s no question that Florida’s Sharrif Floyd was the most impressive. He was all the rage for the personalities on NFL Network as they analyzed the day’s action on Monday night. Steve Mariucci suggested that Floyd may be the type of three-down DT that many teams covet. Often times, starting DTs who excel on 1st and 2nd down are forced to leave the field on 3rd down in favor of more athletic interior linemen who can rush the passer. Floyd, however, is the type of DT who can stay on the field for 3 downs, according to Mariucci and Mike Mayock. It’s also notable that newly-elected, first-ballot Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was very complimentary of Floyd. I’ll be surprised if he makes it out of the Top 5.


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