Mathieu ready for the NFL

Kyle Riviere
Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Photo by Michael Tortorich.

The man everyone simply knows as the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu decided to take his talents to the NFL last week after a a year of troubling disappointment.

Tiger fans were pretty much expecting this before the season began, but no one foresaw it being under these circumstances.

Mathieu had a sophomore season for the ages where he seemed to come up with a big-time highlight or some type of game-changing play every week.

In a season where LSU won 13 games and made it to the BCS Championship Game, he led the team in tackles, had two interceptions, six forced fumbles and scored four touchdowns--two as a punt returner.

For his play, he became LSU's first Heisman finalist since Charles Alexander in 1978.

This was supposed to be even a grander year for the Honey Badger as he prepared to enter the season as one of the most popular players in all of college football.

However, a failed drug test spelled doom for Mathieu. He had already been suspended for a game last year for the same thing. This time, head coach Les Miles decided enough was enough.

Mathieu was dismissed from the team.

FBS schools such as McNeese State reached out to Mathieu to join their team--where he'd be eligible to play this season. He decided to pass and to seek professional help and enroll back at LSU instead.

It appeared to be a great scenario for him. He would stay away from the program for a year, get himself clean and be on track to possibly be reinstated next year.

But any hopes of that went up in smoke last month when Mathieu was arrested for possession of marijuana.

The arrest, plus possible NCAA sanctions in the future for Mathieu allegedly being used to promote a party over the summer, made the NFL really the only option left for him.

Before the season began, Mathieu was projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick. After the tumultuous year, he is currently projected to be a late third or early fourth-round selection.

ESPN's scouting guru Todd McShay lists Mathieu's obvious checkered past, his year off from football, his lack of size and his struggles with man-to-man coverage as his major cons going into the draft.

However, McShay does hail Mathieu's instincts, play-making ability and his nose for the football.

Mathieu will most likely compete in the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February and will be set for the draft on April 25.