Tyrann Mathieu: Drug Arrest Makes Honey Badger Undraftable for NFL Teams

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers reacts after breaking up a play against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Along with his dream of coming back to play college football, the goal of becoming an NFL player may be circling the drain for former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.

For those uninitiated, what was once looking like a possible redemption story for Mathieu has unfortunately turned into yet another example of a kid simply not learning his lesson.

Mathieu, along with other former LSU players Jordan Jefferson, Karnell Hatcher and Derrick Bryant, was arrested on Thursday and charged with marijuana possession.

According to WAFB in Baton Rouge, Mathieu was charged with a first offense of simple possession, but for those who have followed the Honey Badger's story, it likely means far more than a misdemeanor.

First and foremost, it almost certainly ends any chance that Mathieu could rejoin the LSU football team in 2013. After being suspended in 2011 for failing a drug test and reportedly being kicked off the team for repeated failed tests, Les Miles likely has to draw the line with his superstar cornerback. 

Nonetheless, what's most important in the long-term is that it should scare teams away from taking Mathieu altogether if he declares for April's NFL draft.

Before we get started, let's make one thing abundantly clear: I'm not vilifying Mathieu for partaking in marijuana consumption. For those who have been on college campuses, you know that it's not exactly the most the most frowned upon thing in the world.

However, Mathieu is not your average college student and the stakes are far different for him than even your average collegiate football player.

It was Mathieu who checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic, re-enrolled in school and was seemingly on the path to redemption. 

This drug arrest flies in the face of that, makes you wonder whether he was all that interested in coming back to LSU football in the first place and covers him with more red flags than perhaps any draft prospect in recent history. 

Considering commissioner Roger Goodell's continued hard-line stance on legal and substance abuse issues, it's certain that Mathieu will come into the NFL under the watchful eye of the league.

Let's also not forget this is the league that doles out four-game suspensions for positive marijuana tests—the same punishment given to first-time steroid users. 

Even setting aside all of the drug-related character concerns, it even still remains to be seen whether he's actually an elite cornerback. Though Mathieu recorded 76 tackles and two interceptions on his way to becoming a consensus All-American choice, he still leaves something to be desired in coverage. 

Anyone who watched the 2011 Tigers could point out massive holes in Mathieu's technique and Morris Claiborne nearly always took the opposing team's best receiver.

In fact, the Honey Badger was most consistently great as a return man. 

For NFL teams, all of those factors make Mathieu the ultimate stay-away if he declares for the 2013 draft.

It's undeniable that Mathieu has other-worldly talent, but until he proves himself off the field, no NFL team should take the massive risk of giving him a chance on it.