By Danny Cox
The 2012 NFL season still has a number of weeks left to go in the regular season, and then the playoffs and Super Bowl. The 2013 NFL draft isn’t even until April, but there are a number of players already predicted to go at some point and some early on. Now, there is at least one definite player that will be awaiting his name to be called that day, and it is Tyrann Mathieu.
That’s right, former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, affectionately known as the “Honey Badger,” announced on Thursday that he is entering the upcoming NFL draft.
A statement was issued announcing his decision, and Mathieu said that “It is time for me to move forward.” He then thanked his family, LSU coach Les Miles, and all of his former Tiger teammates.
“I am sorry that I was not able to complete my journey at LSU, but I will always support LSU in any way I can. To my teammates, you are my brothers. You have kept me going. I will do my best to make you all proud of me,” he said.
The problematic “Honey Badger” had an extremely promising collegiate career ahead of him before being suspended for the entire 2012 season due to a substance abuse issue. He couldn’t seem to get it under control, and had his football love taken from him.
Mathieu had the possible chance of returning to LSU after being dismissed from the team in August, but got arrested for possession of marijuana in October. It was then that his chances of returning to LSU were over.
Transferring to a lower-division school just wasn’t in Mathieu’s plans, as he hoped that playing football again for LSU was in the cards. It seems that it wasn’t meant to be.
Now, he has the hope of making it into the NFL with the same type of impact that he had at LSU. Two seasons for the Tigers has shown that Mathieu has the skills to be one of the best players in college, but can he make it in the pros?
During his career, Mathieu racked up 15 tackles for loss, six sacks, six forced fumbles, and four interceptions. It was his knack for always knowing where the ball was, big hits, and explosive plays that made him a finalist for the 2011 Heisman Trophy.
He finished in fifth place, which was the third best finish by a defensive player in the last 20 years.
The thing now is whether or not the diminutive defensive back can make a name for himself in the NFL.
Experts are currently predicting that Mathieu will go in the fourth round, with the possibility of going in the third round if a team is willing to take a chance. It is his size and style of play that have many believing his long-term durability in the NFL is going to be short-lived.
There is a very good chance that a number of teams could take a shot on Mathieu. He could end up being the next coming of Deion Sanders––on a much shorter scale, of course. Then again, he could end up being a complete and total draft bust that thought college just wasn’t the best place for him.
Anyone remember Maurice Clarett?
Teams like New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Washington, Jacksonville, and even New England rank last in the NFL in passing defense. Mathieu could come in and provide a spark to a faltering secondary that is just hoping to stop letting wide receivers get behind them.
Well, he could also enter the NFL and never make a single big play all while costing a team a very important draft pick. For one thing, he’s going to have to grow up, and fast––both mentally and physically.
“I am committed to tackling my personal issues and will work to better myself every day as a man first and only then as a football player. I will always consider myself an LSU Tiger,” he said
Now, will he always consider himself a professional? Come April, we will know if someone is willing to give him that chance.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.