He'll have to show teams that he's worthy of any selection before one drafts him. Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that Atlanta is on his visit list:
This would be interesting as a fit because Mathieu is definitely someone the defense could use as a slot corner and a return specialist. But the Falcons would have to vet his character first.
Louisiana State University
Height: 5'8.75" Weight: 186 pounds
Arm Length: 31.125" Hand Measurement: 9.375"
40-yard dash: 4.46. sec. 10-yard split: 1.53 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.14 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.87 sec. Bench Reps: 4 reps
Vertical Jump: 34.0" Broad Jump: 9'9"
2012: Did not play in 2012 due to LSU dismissing him from the team.
2011: 13 Games Played, 76 Tackles, 7.5 Tackles for Loss, 1.5 Sacks, 1.5 QB Hurries, 2 Interceptions, 6 Fumbles Forced, 4 Fumbles Recovered, 9 Pass Deflections, 2 Defensive Touchdowns, 27 Punt Returns, 421 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
2010: 13 Games Played, 57 Tackles, 8.5 Tackles for Loss, 4.5 Sacks, 1 QB Hurry, 2 Interceptions, 5 Fumbles Forced, 2 Fumbles Recovered, 7 Pass Deflections
Tyrann Mathieu's biggest strength comes not on defense but in the return game. Whenever he has the ball in his hands, he can take it to the house. He has ridiculous field vision and doesn't want to go down. However, this doesn't just stick to his return game, it also shows when he has the ball on defense too.
He creates a ton of plays and turnovers. He's solid in run defense and isn't afraid to get dirty when taking on players bigger than him. He's willing to take on anyone in coverage and can cover bigger players than him similar to guys like Brent Grimes or even Antoine Winfield have been able to.
The biggest weaknesses in his game are when he is lined up on the outside versus receivers who have a size or speed advantage on him. His lack of a true position on a defense will definitely hurt him with some schemes as well, though this can help him for Mike Nolan's defense.
He is also undersized, and his speed level isn't top notch. He also takes too many risks that are unneeded when going for his big plays. Another issue is related to his off-the-field problems, but that will be discussed later.
While he's a playmaker, he still has his deficiencies when playing top-level talent and on the outside of formations. Ideally, the best role for him is inside at nickel or even back deeper at free safety in the defense. Mike Nolan's Wolverine packages would love a playmaker like him. As a returner, he would give the Falcons something they haven't had since Allen Rossum in the mid-2000s.
How Does He Fit the Comrade Filter?
Tyrann Mathieu is the kind of guy that the Comrade Filter has been designed to not allow. He was kicked off of his college football team at LSU for failing a drug test and was also later arrested for simple possession of marijuana. His wild hair dye job, attitude and personality earned him the nickname "Honey Badger" similar to the Internet meme of the same name.
While there were also rumors circulating that this was just the tip of the iceberg, Mathieu seems to be a changed man. The biggest question here is related to how he would fit within the Falcons locker room. If he truly has changed, he could be a solid fit. But he would need to show that he isn't the Honey Badger anymore.
How He Would Fit Into the Falcons' Plans
Mathieu is someone who could be taken with one of the Falcons' fourth- or even fifth-round picks. If they feel his character checks out, it wouldn't shock me to see them take a flier on him. He would have to sign provisions in his contract for the NFL that subject him to drug testing, and if his problems only truly relate to that, he would have to straighten out or never play again.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs the NFL draft website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.