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.
Tags: 2013 Scouting Combine
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