As just announced during a press conference by LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles, all-everything cornerback / return threat Tyrann Mathieu has been suspended for the 2012 season due to an undisclosed violation of team and school rules.
Les Miles would not comment on details and stated there was an assumption Mathieu would want to transfer to another institution given the nature of the suspension.
Mathieu is rated as one of the top NFL secondary prospects in the 2012 class going into the season and has the type of abilities that NFL scouts are salivating over.
How does today’s news ultimately affect his draft stock next spring?
The answer to this question will be up to each NFL organization and the amount of risk they are willing to take on a guy with massive upside, but who is obviously also fighting some personal demons.
This is story we’ve all heard a thousand times before, and there is plenty of precedent in teams taking risks on guys who have less than stellar off-the-field reputations.
Mathieu did fail a drug test last fall, however, and today’s suspension– regardless of its nature–shows a troubling pattern of behavior which may cause some franchises to turn the other cheek. Seeing what the Dallas Cowboys have had to deal with in Dez Bryant, for example, one has to figure the upside v.s. risk balance is starting to tilt toward being more conservative.
And it’s just that, willingness to accept risk.
While unconventional in both ability and size– which already puts some NFL scouts on pause– Mathieu has seemed to have an “it” factor on the field that belies what you see with the eye test. More often than not, these types of qualities translate awfully well to the NFL game.
For an example, see Ed Reed.
The “eye test” of his off-the-field behavior, however, suggests he may not be worth the trouble.
If you were an NFL scout, how does the announcement of the Honey Badger’s suspension today affect your judgement?
It’s a case-by-case, and person-by-person decision, and one I can promise you won’t be taken lightly as next spring’s NFL draft rolls around.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.