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Tyrann Mathieu: How Does the Honey Badger Fit into the 2013 NFL Draft?

January 25th, 2013 at 7:41 PM
By Donald Lappe

Tyrann Mathieu, known as the Honey Badger, terrorized SEC opponents while playing for LSU with his innate playmaking ability both as a defensive back and as a punt returner. Tyrann Mathieu was an interesting prospect at the surface, given his lack of size and his sometimes shaky coverage skills paired with his big play ability. Now there's even more uncertainty surrounding him and his 2013 NFL Draft stock after being kicked off the LSU football team and spending a year trying to get his life back in order.

Tyrann Mathieu might have said that the Honey Badger persona is over with, but that name is still going to stick. The question surrounding him is where he will go in the 2013 NFL Draft, and if he can stick in the NFL afterwards. His ability to make big plays and have a major impact on games with just a few touches earned him a trip to New York City as a Heisman finalist in 2011.

Tyrann Mathieu has been hanging out at the Senior Bowl and NFL teams have taken notice. Among them, the New York Jets, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins. It's very similar to the situation Janoris Jenkins faced heading into the 2012 NFL Draft, with the difference being that he played at North Alabama after being kicked off the Florida football team and he was a better pure cover cornerback. The St. Louis Rams have benefited nicely from taking a chance on him in the second round

In his attempt to salvage his football career, Tyrann Mathieu has sought out the help of the best of the best. Former LSU cornerback and current Arizona Cardinals star Patrick Peterson and Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis have been helping Tyrann Mathieu prepare for the NFL Combine and the 2013 NFL Draft.

But where does Tyrann Mathieu fit in? Is he a third round pick? A fifth? Undrafted free agent?

It's tough to imagine Tyrann Mathieu not being selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. To guess right now, he starts to become a real factor in the third round. Don't expect him to last past the fifth round. That leaves him as a day two/day three selection, when teams are more willing to take risks with potentially even bigger payoffs. That's Tyrann Mathieu in a nutshell. Some team is going to draft him with the intention of playing him in the slot as a nickel corner and use him as a kick and punt returner and get themselves a game changer.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, 2013 NFL Draft, Alabama, Arizona Cardinals, Florida, Honey Badger, LSU, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Draft, St. Louis Rams, Tyrann Mathieu, Washington Redskins

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