There is no doubt that former LSU Tigers star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is an intriguing NFL talent.
Unfortunately, the former All-American continues to reinforce the red flags that got him dismissed from Les Miles' SEC powerhouse program—and ultimately caused him to free fall on 2013 draft boards.
As CBS Sports' Josh Katzowitz documented on Friday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports went on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Mathieu. Glazer reported that Mathieu had missed scheduled meetings with the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans earlier in the week.
Mathieu was reportedly sick for those meetings, but given his checkered background off the field, it's hard to understand why he didn't at least show up.
The reason behind Mathieu's dismissal from LSU was repeated failed drug tests, and he recently admitted to flunking at least 10.
It could be argued that Mathieu—or any other player—should be free to do as he pleases away from the gridiron. With regard to Mathieu's illegal conduct, though, that is not the reality of the situation.
His repeated, intentional transgressions were irresponsible. Mathieu did nothing to dismiss concerns about his maturity by skipping out on meetings with two teams that made the playoffs in 2012 and have the luxury of possibly taking a flier on him in the draft.
Mathieu apparently thought he had a shot at going in the first round, planning a draft party for Thursday before backtracking on Twitter, bizarrely referencing himself in the third person:
Former sports agent Joel Corry of the National Football Post was puzzled by Mathieu's initial big plans:
There are other facets of Mathieu's game on the field that may not necessarily translate to the pros well either. Although he was a dynamic returner and exciting playmaker, the primary concern is that he's been out of football for an entire year.
Secondly, at just 5'9" and 186 pounds, does he really have the size to play anything other than a slot corner in the NFL? Probably not.
The limitations presented by Mathieu's stature and strength (four reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the Combine). Overlooking that would be unwise, and it appears that Mathieu doesn't possess the requisite strength to win one-on-one battles on the outside.
Though Mathieu has enviable natural instincts, his diminutive frame and flawed decision-making off the field should cause him to fall out of the first three rounds. Jason Cole of Yahoo! asserts that the earliest Mathieu might go is No. 80 overall—a third-round choice currently held by the Dallas Cowboys:
Being chosen at such a late juncture in the draft will result in Mathieu needing to work extremely hard just to make an NFL team. Repairing his image as a no-show for a couple of team meetings will also need to be something he must explain away.
It may wind up being the adversity he needs to face to ultimately succeed as a pro, but Mathieu can be passed over on Friday pretty easily due to the depth of this rookie class.