Position: Cornerback School: Louisiana State Measurements: 5-foot-9, 186 pounds. 40 time: 4.5 seconds, Vertical jump: 34 inches. Broad jump: 9 feet, 9 inches. 2012 stats: Did not play. Draft projection: Third round.
Lowdown: How much will character questions cost one of the most well-known players in college football? Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as the top defensive player in the country in 2011, and he added first-team All-America honors. His college career came to a premature end when he was kicked off the LSU team in August for violating team rules. He was arrested in October for marijuana possession. He spent four weeks in a drug rehabilitation program with former NBA player and coach John Lucas. …
Mathieu quickly became a fan favorite as a freshman at LSU and acquired his "Honey Badger" nickname. (His small stature and tenacity is compared with a badger.) He ranked fourth on the team in tackles as a true freshman and added five forced fumbles, even though he only started one game due to LSU’s talent in the defensive backfield. As a sophomore, he led the team with 70 tackles and forced six fumbles. He also ranked fourth in the country with a 16.2-yard average on punt returns. He’s a playmaker. He’s on the small side. He’s more quick than he’s fast.
He said it: Mathieu at the NFL Scouting Combine on whether he’s better equipped to deal with success than in the past: "I know what it's like not to have football. I know what it's like not to be the center of attention, and I know what it's like to be humiliated. To go back down that road, nah, not a chance in this world. Not a chance in my lifetime again. Everyday it's a process. I'm not saying that I'm totally there but I am taking strides everyday to be the best person that Tyrann can be."
"I thought my bottom was when I got kicked out of school but I think when I got arrested in October that was a different bottom. So, I decided to go to a rehab. This time the rehab was for Tyrann. I just wasn't going to it for publicity or because my school told me to go. I actually wanted to get my problem corrected."
Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.
Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.