Like a handful of others, Tyrann Mathieu has spent this week fielding questions about past off the field struggles, while trying to convince scouts and GM’s of his value and alleged newfound maturity since his “Honey Badger” days.
Those questions, were perhaps the hard part of the Scouting Combine for the LSU star. The easy part for Mathieu, was quieting any doubters with his 4.50 40-yard dash time, and a natural ability to catch balls on position drills.
When asked in an interview on NFL.com’s Draft Tracker podcast yesterday, Mathieu was quick to compare his game to the likes of Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu
“It’s definitely Woodson, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu” Mathieu told Bucky Brooks. “I try to take bits and pieces from those guys’ game and put it into my game”.
While Mathieu openly compares himself to three of the league’s most veteran defensemen without ever having set foot on an NFL field, he isn’t entirely wrong.
From a height perspective (5’9), Mathieu is in the same bracket as Troy Polamalu (5’10), and has made up for his diminutive structure by selling his skill set to scouts. What could possibly set Mathieu apart from Woodson, Reed and Polamalu though, is his return capabilities.
Mathieu is speedy, and would fit in nicely with a team that is after both a reliable cornerback and a punt/kick returner at the same time. Mathieu returned two punts for touchdowns in 2011, and could fall to someone like the Texans or 49ers in the third round or later.
The most obvious comparison to be made though is his demeanor. He holds the quality that all three of those guys possess – the ability to make a big play, despite his small size. Mathieu won’t shy away from a taller receiver at the line of scrimmage, and doesn’t take long to draw towards the flight of the ball.
He may not be there to make a Polamalu style big hit. Or lead the locker room like Ed Reed, but the comparison could prove to be fair on Mathieu’s physical abilities.
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