With the 2013 NFL Draft less than a month away, the New England Patriots have begun scheduling visits for draft prospects. The Patriots already have two potential draftees scheduled for visits, one of which is cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, also known as “Honey Badger”.
Mathieu is arguably the most intriguing prospect in the upcoming draft. He was a Heisman Finalist in 2011 for his playmaking abilities as a cornerback and his elusiveness as a kick and punt returner while playing at LSU. But constant violations with marijuana use got Mathieu kicked off the team as he sat out the entire 2012 season.
While Mathieu has made a name for himself with his ball-hawking coverage in the secondary and with his electric return skills, the risks do not outweigh the rewards in selecting the “Honey Badger”. Mathieu repeated drug fails are a major deterrence for the draft prospect. While “Honey Badger” did enter rehab after being booted off the team and wisely stayed at LSU, rather than bolting to another football program, he got arrested on October 25th for possession of marijuana.
Mathieu claims he has yet to touch marijuana since his arrest. At the draft combine, Mathieu said the Patriots constantly probed about his drug addiction.
There is no denying the skillset of Mathieu. At LSU, he was an elite slot cornerback. He has proven he can make an impact all over on defense as he totaled four interceptions, 11 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns and six sacks in two seasons at LSU.
The New England Patriots should not waste one of their five draft selections on Mathieu. The secondary has been shored up this offseason with the addition of safety Adrian Wilson, along with the re-signings of Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington. Mathieu could provide solid depth for the Patriots, but the off the field issues for Mathieu seem to always linger. The Patriots need to avoid the temptation of selecting “Honey Badger” as his lack of discipline off the football field is unacceptable and cannot coexist with the “Patriot Way”.