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2013 NFL Combine: Tyrann Mathieu helps stock in workouts

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Because he's the Honey Badger and because that's something we care about (though he isn't interested in the nickname), Tyrann Mathieu got an unholy amount of coverage during Tuesday's defensive back drills at the 2013 NFL Combine.

And Mathieu certainly helped his stock. He ran a 4.43 (unofficially) in the 40-yard dash. He displayed ball skills, which we all know he has. And if Deion Sanders was his agent, well, he'd be a top-five pick.

Sanders said Mathieu is "a leader," a "straight-up dog," and "all that and a bag of chips." (It is apparently 1994. Why didn't anyone tell me this?) Deion also added, "I trust this kid."

Mathieu was confident in his own performance, though he also said he came into the day confident as well.

"I think I did good. I came into the day extremely confident," Mathieu said. "Believed I could get a 4.4 in my 40. My positional drills, I knew all along I was just a natural athlete."

Not everything is based on an interview with Prime, however. NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal chatted up two talent evaluators I trust, and they weren't thrilled with Mathieu's "movement skills" at least on one flip drill.

Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network added he thinks Mathieu had "a very good workout."

Mathieu did some very good stuff on the field. It's important to remember no one's evaluating him as a No. 1 corner who's going to step in and shut down teams' opposing top wideouts.

"If I was to check somebody like Calvin Johnson, he'll make his plays, but I'm going to get mine, too," Mathieu said. "He'll catch his five balls, but I'll get my two turnovers so we'll be even."

Gonna go ahead and throw out that it doesn't matter what Mathieu does. Short of growing a foot or two, he's not checking Megatron. The reality is he's more of a nickle corner or a safety, and in the end Mathieu might just not have an accurate classification. "Playmaker" or some other term might be something more appropriate.

The point being Mathieu helped himself Tuesday because he showed that despite all his off-field issues, he's still a very talented young man who knows how to find the ball and can make a difference on the football field.

Talent can almost always overcome off-field issues in this league. And if Mathieu is truly contrite when it comes to the problems he faced, someone will ultimately take a chance on him.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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