Ex-LSU star performed well in front of scouts after doubts he may have lost physical edge.
When he was kicked off the LSU team for possession and usage of Marijuana at the beginning of last season, many thought that he had no future in the game.
Despite his ball-playing skills and hard hitting tackles, many also questioned his ability to work in man-to-man coverage, something that he was not asked to do often in college, and when he was, he struggled.
Since being banned from the team, Mathieu has worked hard since then to retain fitness and improve his defensive skills. The combine was the perfect place to showcase his improved talents.
The one area where he stunned scouts the most was his 40 yard time. Whilst always possessing good speed, as was shown in his many punt returns, he wasn’t slow.
Scouts were expecting him to run a high 4.5 time, which they would have found good giving his situation.
He ran a 4.43, and every coach and scout in the building sat up and took note.
‘The Honeybadger’ still has a way to go before he can really convince teams he is clean off-field. His draft stock has risen this week after this 40 times, displaying improved coverage and honest answers when meeting with team officials.
While he will probably be taken no higher than the fifth round because of the baggage he still undoubtedly carries, teams will be taking a closer eye on his pro day next month to see him on a field, and whether the combine was for real, or just a flash in a pan.
The league is all about giving second chances to players that may have done wrong, as coaches believe that so long as they can produce on the field that’s all that matters.
Mathieu still has a way to go to prove doubters wrong, including me, but if his pro day was as good as the combine performance., then he will be playing in the NFL next season no doubt.