Many have speculated that the Redskins could go after former LSU corner/special teamer Tyrann Mathieu in this month’s NFL Draft. Mathieu has not played since 2011, after being kicked off the team for taking banned substances. He re-enrolled in classes at LSU last year after spending some time in rehab.
Feb 26, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive end Tyrann Mathieu runs with the ball after catching a pass during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mathieu did have drug abuse issues and hasn’t played football in over a year, but he still presents an interesting option for the Redskins under the right circumstances. He’d provide the electric speed on special teams that the Redskins lost in Brandon Banks, and he’ll provide a hard-hitting nickel corner with good hands. He’s undersized at 5’9, he’s still capable of laying out a wide receiver or chasing down a running back that got passed the defensive line. While he may not be the next Darrelle Revis, Mathieu could be a great weapon for Jim Haslett to incorporate into select packages.
But again, whether Washington should draft Mathieu or not is dependent on how long he’s available. The Redskins have bigger needs to address, and shouldn’t consider Mathieu at 51st-overall. That pick should be used to invest in a safety, offensive lineman, or in the right situation, a middle linebacker. 85th-overall should be reserved for taking the position (safety or offensive line) that wasn’t addressed in the second round, meaning the Redskins are looking at the fourth round or later if they want Mathieu.
Picking Mathieu would have to be reserved for the fourth round or later (ideally the fifth round), and that seems unlikely. Chances are that a team with a surplus of picks (like the San Francisco 49ers) takes a chance on him in the third or fourth round. Some analysts even have Mathieu going in Round 2, though that seems unlikely in my opinion.
While Mathieu would be a welcomed addition to the Redskins defense and secondary, he’s also a luxury pick. The Redskins lack a first-round pick this year because of last offseason’s trade with the St. Louis Rams, and will therefore be forced to address needs with picks in the later rounds. As great as it would be to add the Honey Badger, don’t expect him running through the tunnel in Week 1.