LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu doesn't have any margin for error when it comes to his draft stock. The substance abuse issues that caused him to get booted off the Tigers' roster before the 2012 season, and caused him to fail more drug tests than he could remember, have a lot of people wondering if the former Heisman Trophy finalist is draftable at all, despite his estimable talent.
And as he goes through the last vestiges of the pre-draft process, it appears that Mathieu is still kicking up some dirt. According to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, Mathieu had recent visits scheduled with the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks, but cancelled them due to illness.
"Honey Badger got sick last wk & had to blow off 2 team visits," Glazer wrote on his Twitter account. "Any other player, no prob. Him? Everything he does is put under a microscope. Still think he gets picked Day 2."
Per Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seahawks have confirmed that the visit was cancelled.
Mathieu certainly seemed to be feeling better at a gathering held in New York during the first round of the NFL draft, and USA Today's Robert Klemko was along for the ride. Mathieu reportedly believed that he could be selected with the 18th overall pick once the San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Dallas Cowboys, but it was Eric Reid, Mathieu's LSU teammate, who went to the Bay Area instead. And at the end of the first round, the Baltimore Ravens selected Florida safety Matt Elam, believed to be the best pure slot defender in the draft that people are taking seriously because he isn't full of red flags,
But as Glazer intimated, Mathieu have enough on-field potential to have NFL teams interested in him as a second-day prospect -- most likely in the third round, if this latest bit of news doesn't drop his stock even further.
At the scouting combine, Mathieu sounded legitimately repentant ... but there's what you say when you're supposed to, and there's the day-to-day reality.
"First of all, I want them to be able to trust me," he said in February, when asked what he wanted NFL teams to know about him. "I hold myself accountable for everything I've done, and in this past year, it's been tough. At the end of the day, I want them to know that I'm a football player. I want to be a great teammate and I want to be the same leader on the field that I know I can be off the field.
"I'm not totally asking them to trust me right now. What I have asked is for them to give me an opportunity to play the game. I've had a lot of time to reflect on it, especially without football. It's really given me a different outlook on life, and it's just about being the right kind of person."
Well, there's what one says, and what one does. Mathieu will soon see just how much the NFL has bought into his pre-draft redemption.