40 yard dash time: 4.51 seconds
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Nickname: Honey Badger
Weight: 174.2 lbs (79 kg)
As we all know now, Monte Kiffin will be our defensive coordinator heading into the 2013 season. From his tenure as an NFL Defensive Coordinator, he routinely employs a Tampa-2 defense. The defense is tasked with playing extremely discipline ball and forcing an offense to play virtually perfect to move down the field. Details as to how it would fit in Dallas can be explained in the supremely written article by rabblerousr, found here.
The reason I am penning this post is to make the case for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu. Mathieu plays with a mean streak on the field and attacks the ball with a relentless attitude. While he is listed at corner, he played a joker role on the field and lined up everywhere in the defense. He is around the ball a lot and looks to get it in his hands once he has his eyes on it. He can blitz, he can make open field tackles and he also is very physical. He can ignite the crowd with a forced fumble, recover and a TD all in a single play. Not to mention, he has an above average punt return ability.
His coverage as a cornerback is lacking and could use much work. However, I think he would excel as a strong safety with his ability to close quickly and attack the ball. His measurables have him listed at 5’9” and 174lbs. A couple seasons with Mike Woicik could have him add 15-20lbs to get him close to 200lbs. But the kid can flat out fly to the ball. With Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne manning the corners, capable of playing tight coverage, you could essentially deploy Mathieu off the edge as a blitzer in certain situations, allow him to cover backs out of the backfield or assist with run support. He can also play spot duty as a return man should DeWayne Harris need a breather.
I believe he will fall in the 2013 NFL Draft to at least the third round. Frankly, I believe even if he had played another year in college, he would have been no higher than a mid-second round pick because of his size and lack of coverage skills. The reason he should fall in the draft because he failed at least one drug test and was kicked off his team at Louisiana State University (LSU) for the 2012 season. During his suspension, he was later arrested for marijuana possession effectively ending his chance at playing LSU athletics again.
But one thing that doesn't get a lot of publicity is that he re-enrolled at LSU and paid his way through school that year. I’m not sure how much ridicule he received on campus, or public humiliation he faced but he chose to endure it. That’s a very admirable thing to do considering, I personally would not be able to go from being the big shot, Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore (and defensive player I might add), to being a regular student who had regular problems with a normal campus life. That to me sounds like he has a better understanding of how important his off the field conduct is as well as starting a road to recovery.
Based on Jason Garrett's philosophy, he does not fit the Right Kind of Guy (RKG) mold. But his knack for flying to the ball is undeniable. We haven’t had a guy on our defense that causes or even attempts to cause a turnover in a long time (outside of the swipe DeMarcus Ware does during his sacks). I know for certain, we have a void at safety and I’d rather see the Cowboys do everything they can to fill the void rather than just banking on Barry Church coming back from an Achilles injury as well as Matt Johnson returning after an injury plagued, redshirt NFL Season. Not to mention another offseason to “develop” Danny McCray.
I think that with a 3rd round gamble or so, the reward could end up being higher than the risk. Not to mention, it’s not like we’ve hit a bunch of homeruns with 3rd round picks lately anyway.
Dallas Cowboys third round picks for the last six years:2007 – James Marten OT
2008 – No third round pick
2009 – Jason Williams LB and Robert Brewster (OT)
2010 – No third round pick
2011 – DeMarco Murray RB
2012 – Tyrone Crawford
Tyrann Mathieu LSU Sophomore Year Highlight [2011