Former LSU starting CB Tyrann Mathieu was arrested, along with other former players (quarterback Jordan Jefferson, linebacker Karnell Hatcher, and safety Derrick Bryan) on Thursday, charged with marijuana-related offenses.
Mathieu, dismissed from the team by head coach Les Miles in August before the season began, was hoping to re-enroll to be reinstated for the 2012-13 season. Mathieu’s future eligibility had already been in question after Sports Illustrated reported that he had received benefits from a night club by promoting events and allowing his image to be used.
With these two recent events, it seems highly unlikely that he would be able to regain his eligibility at a D-I school, especially at LSU. Since he cannot transfer to a NAIA school at this point in the season, he would have to sit out this entire year and play at smaller status schools. Some predicted before these latest revelations that he could head to the NFL Draft, but by point the draft seems like his only legitimate option.
While the Honeybadger was a Heisman finalist in 2011, he doesn’t project kindly to the pros as a cornerback. Known for his ability to cause turnovers (four interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in just two seasons), Mathieu was also considered too small at 5’9″ and just 175 pounds. No defensive coordinator would want him in a jump ball situation against Calvin Johnson. However, where he would be dangerous is in his returns, where he had two punt returns and brought to fumble recovers all the way back.
Before this August, he was looking at potentially being a second- or third-round pick. However, he definitely has brought maturity concerns with his past digressions. Mathieu is a known marijuana user and supposedly received several positive tests while a player at LSU.
Based on pure athletic ability alone, Mathieu could be a Day 2 pick. But when combined with these concerns, he’s likely to be a late round pick or an undrafted player. While he’s a superior prospect, this situation reminds me of former Oregon CB Cliff Harris, who recently went from intriguing prospect to cut during preseason by the Philadelphia Eagles after not getting drafted.
Friday, October 25th Update: CBS Sports just released an article claiming the same effects on his draft stock. Writer Mike Freeman predicts a sixth to seventh and even undrafted position for the young and talented, yet troubled, cornerback.