Teams in search of a nickel cornerback and punt returner have to be looking hard at LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, so it was more than newsworthy when USA Today reported today that Mathieu has told NFL teams he tested positive for marijuana more than 10 times while at college.
Mathieu, who became well known in 2011 as “Honey Badger” because of the mohawk-like streak of blonde hair down the middle of his head, was kicked out of school before the start last season for repeated violations of the school’s substance abuse policy.
Mathieu has told NFL teams he’s been clean since October, and he apparently was frank when they asked about his marijuana use.
“"I quit counting at 10,” Mathieu reportedly said of the number of positive marijuana tests in his college career. “I really don’t know.”
Here’s the link to the full story in USA Today: http://tinyurl.com/ca3otdk
Mathieu is too short (5-feet-8 ¾) for most if not all NFL teams to consider as a starting cornerback, but the quickness and nose for the ball he showed in college makes him an interesting prospect as a slot cornerback in nickel and dime packages. In his two seasons at LSU, he had four interceptions, forced 11 fumbles and recovered five fumbles, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also returned two punts for touchdowns and averaged 15.6 yards a return in 2011, when he was a finalist in the Heisman Trophy voting.
At the NFL scouting combine, Mathieu ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds.
This is a player who will test NFL teams’ appetite for risk and faith in their character evaluations. Can Mathieu abstain from marijuana permanently? Who will he surround himself with when he signs an NFL contract?
The USA Today story pegged Mathieu to get picked in the third round of the draft, or possibly the late second.