There is no doubt in my mind, The Washington Redskins are going to need to solve some of their issues in the defensive backfield during the 2013 NFL Draft. Have you taken a look at the new schedule? Even though Head Coach Mike Shanahan has been pretty tight-lipped about what his draft-day thoughts are, he has to be looking for a little help in the secondary, actually a lot of help. The question I have, is Tyrann Mathieu aka..The Honey Badger a good fit for Redskin Nation?
Feb 26, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State Tigers defensive end Tyrann Mathieu runs with the ball after catching a pass during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
I have always been of the opinion that a draft pick with personal baggage can be productive if he is taken by a team with strong leaders in the locker room, and very organized, strong management in the front office. Back in the day, The Honey Badger would have been a good fit with the Oakland Raiders, but not today.
Mathieu would be packing a full suitcase of problems if he shows up at FedEx field, but he brings some talent also. He’s a small guy with a chip on his shoulder, and a fierce competitor. While at LSU, he won the Bednarik Award in 2011 as college football’s best defender. He is not ultra fast, but he is very quick. He reacts to the ball well and plays the run as well as the pass. In other words, he play a lot bigger than his size.
As a true Freshman at LSU, he only had one start because he was behind Morris Claiborne, and Patrick Peterson( both were top ten picks), but did play in every game. He ranked fourth on the team that year with 57 tackles at an average loss of 5.7 yards. He intercepted two passes, and broke up seven more pass plays. He was ranked fifth in the nation with five forced fumbles. He won the MVP in the Cotton Bowl that year with an interception, a sack and two forced fumbles in the Tigers win over Texas A&M.
The kid is a free spirit that makes plays, and runs punt returns. He makes errors in judgement at times, and will field the ball inside the 10 yard line, but in the nation’s toughest conference, he had a 16.2 yard return average in 2011.
The Washington Redskins season starts out with a bang. With Michael Vick, Aaron Rogers, and Matthew Stafford on the other side of the ball in the first three weeks, and Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, and Peyton Manning following the bye week, whoever they draft, will need to perform week one.
I think the Redskins have strong leadership in the locker room, and a good coaching staff. They can deal with the free-spirited type of play that the Honey Badger would bring to the team. I don’t think however, this young team needs the kind of problem he would bring to the table. Players with substance abuse problems, and character flaws tend to march to a different drummer. They can be great one minute, and not show up for practice the next.
Even in a structured environment that LSU Head Coach Les Miles runs, Mathieu was dismissed because of his substance abuse issues. Instead of working out his problems, and returning to meet his commitment, he quit. The Redskins spent too many years with things going in the wrong direction and now have them going in the right direction. They don’t need this type of distraction.
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