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New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Profile: Tyrann Mathieu

February 18th, 2013 at 5:08 PM
By Paul Tierney

Despite the New York Giants reputation as one of the most upstanding organizations in the NFL, general manager Jerry Reese is not above taking a chance on a player with off the field issues. For example, safety Will Hill saw some significant playing time in 2012 after sitting out the entire 2011 season. In fact, the team has won two Super Bowl's with the likes of Mario Manningham, Plaxico Burress and Ahmad Bradshaw playing major roles. So while it's hard to predict whether former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu will be on the draft board by the time the Giants' second-round pick comes around, his character issues may not deter Big Blue's interest as much as one may expect.

Mathieu is 5'9" and 175 pounds. If he were two or three inches bigger and 15 pounds heavier, he would be the most talented cornerback in the 2013 draft. His instincts are unparalleled and he's always around the football. Mathieu's physicality allows him to play "bigger" than his modest frame would normally dictate, and he rarely gets beat over the top. As a team with the second worst pass defense in the NFL in 2012, the Giants could use a physical slot cornerback.

However, Mathieu also presents value as a roaming safety as well. With the impending loss of Kenny Phillips, the Giants are going to lose an over-the-top presence that very few athletes out there have the capability to replace.Mathieu does not have the stature to start as a safety in the NFL, and if Phillips does leave in free agency, Stevie Brown is going to be his replacement. However, Mathieu is a ball-hawk who is physical enough to play against the run, while still being athletic enough to play over the middle of the field as well. Overall, the Giants would be able to move him from slot cornerback, to safety and use him in a variety of packages. 

As a potential second round pick, Mathieu may not present great value. He's more of a complementary player that has the ability to make the others around him better. However, he is not big enough to play as a traditional cornerback in the NFL. He can guard well over the the middle of the field and he will create turnovers with his elite instincts, but Mathieu will likely become a rotational defensive back rather than a bonafide starter. Second round picks are supposed to develop into impact starters, and Mathieu's size will likely inhibit him from becoming that.

However, undersized cornerbacks have had success in the NFL before. St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins is just one inch taller than Mathieu and showed promise that he has the ability to become a premier cornerback in the NFL one day. That doesn't mean that Mathieu will as well; however, he's still a talented football player that can be used in a variety of roles to help the Giants improve their pass defense.

With Jayron Hosley and Prince Amukamara already on the roster, Mathieu would give the Giants a formidable trio of defensive backs. If Terrell Thomas can return to NFL form, then the Giants would have four cornerbacks capable of contributing in 2013. This would allow Jerry Reese to shed over $9 million of salary cap space by releasing Corey Webster. So not only would drafting Mathieu (or any other talented cornerback) make sense from a tactical standpoint, it would help the team relieve some of the salary cap issues that will undoubtedly plague them this offseason.

Regardless of his talent level, Tyrann Mathieu must prove to NFL teams that he has truly learned from the substance abuse issues that tarnished his college career. As a former Heisman Trophy finalist, Mathieu is a game changing talent that has the ability to make an impact in a variety of ways. However, he still has a lot to prove before any team invests a second-round pick in him. The Giants have a history of turning around the careers of troubled athletes, and Mathieu would be a project. However, his upside is undeniable and he offers a unique skill-set that could help diversify the secondary. It's questionable whether he presents good value as a second-round pick, but there would undoubtedly be a lot of excited Giants fans if Tyrann Mathieu is in Blue next season.


Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, burress, Football, Jerry Reese, LSU, Mario Manningham, mathieu, New York, New York Giants, NFL

20 Responses to “New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Profile: Tyrann Mathieu”

  1.  GmenMania says:

    Mathieu is NOWHERE near a second-round pick. He’s most likely a Day 3 pick, probably round 4-6. Most certainly NOT second-round territory. Would love to get him in the 5th or sixth, but 100% not in the second round; that would be a terrible pick by Reese.

    •  Paul Tierney says:

      I’ll disagree and say he’s a lot closer to a second rounder than most think. This guy has put a lot on film for people to be excited about. With a good combine, he is going to be able to vault himself up draft boards. Like I said in the article, I don’t think he’s good value in the the second round. He’s might not ever develop into a starter in this league; however, I still think he will be an impact player. We need another CB in order to get rid of Webster, and I dont think Mathieu would be a terrible fit. I agree it would be a questionable pick, but Reese could do a lot worse as well.

      •  GmenMania says:

        I acknowledge that, but no GM is going to pick him in the second round, and probably not in the third round. Earliest he’ll come off the board is the fourth, and most likely the fifth.

  2.  GmenMania says:


    Whoever said that Ojomo and Tracy were comparable to Tuck and Osi is flat-out crazy. To insinuate that Ojomo, a guy who has played ZERO regular-season snaps could be as good as Osi, a 2-time, first-team All-Pro, is out of their mind.

    And Tracy is not even close to the same build as Tuck, nonetheless the talent he is (mostly was). Tracy is 6? 2”, 245 pounds. Tuck? He’s 6? 5?, 268. Tracy has nowhere near the ability that Tuck did or still has.

    The over-hype that goes on on this site is just crazy sometimes. Tracy will most likely have a Tollefson like impact (3-4 sacks a year), if that. Ojomo, who I actually like, I see as getting somewhere near Kiwi if he achieves most of his potential. But neither of them will come close to Tuck or Osi in their primes.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Nobody said that. Nobody. You’re reacting to a chimera.

      I’m probably as high on Ojomo as anyone here, and I certainly haven’t said he’ll be as good as Osi. That would be great, but it’s an awful lot to hope for at this point. And I don’t think anyone thinks Tracy or Ojomo will good as Tuck at his best. Now as good as Tuck in 2012? That’s possible at some point.

      Bottom line: You’re over-hyping the hype!!

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Yeah but sometimes poster are just that insightful. There were posters that said similar things about Cruz, Ballard and Andre Brown from watching the preseason. I get that we as a hole sometimes go overboard but it’s not as crazy as you make it seem. I don’t see those outlooks for Tracy or Ojomo but I also didn’t see anyone saying they would be Tuck or Osi in their primes. Many feel that with the contributions from Kiwi, Ojomo and Tracy in 2012 the DE position and pass rush should be better. I think the DE position is more about JPP and Tuck returning to form. If those two play well that changes everything.

  3.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    Agree with GMenMania; I would not take Mathieu in the second round. He is a smaller prospect and projects more towards the slot in the pros…which we have in Hosley. Additionally, with all of his issues…NO team will grade him out in the 2nd round. Having said that…I wouldn’t mind a higher round CB (rounds 1-3) and then adding Mathieu if he is available somewhere between rounds 4-6.

  4.  GOAT56 says:

    One thing about the NFL is I wouldn’t write off many players if injury is not a factor and/or they haven’t had a chance to fail at their position. There are players like James Harrison that were cut NFL and have become near HOFers. We have varying opinions from players Ojomo to Jernigan to Scott. The one factor that connects these players is they haven’t had a real chance yet. This year looks to be it for these players so we will find out.

    One random free agent that might be worth a look at MLB is Larry Grant from SF. In 2011 he looked great when he had to step in for Willis. Being behind Willis and Bowman is hardly a signal that he can’t play. I think he would be cheap with a possible starter upside but at least a quality special team’s guy. I would sign someone like him an draft a top 3 round MLB.

    F55 that Mosley comment was about 101 collectively, I didn’t mean he was never mentioned. He just hasn’t been discussed like an Ojomo or even Tracy.

    Mathieu doesn’t excite me as an NFL player much because he doesn’t really seem to have a true position. I remember him being beat a lot as a CB in 2011. He does have value as a PR and as a sub package DB. But after sitting out given what we have seen with Austin the earliest he should be picked is the 5th round IMO.

    •  shmitty013 says:

      That’s a great point about Larry Grant. Probably won’t cost a lot because he hardly plays, but it’s not his fault that he has 2 All-Pros ahead of him on the depth chart. Also he’s best suited as a SAM in a 4-3 which he played at Ohio State, especially now that he’s bulked up. He was around 235 in college, but now he’s listed at 251. Reese has shown he looks at San Fran’s backups since that’s exactly what Baas was and it makes sense to do so because they probably have the most talented roster in the NFL, top to bottom. I remember him at Ohio State and he was a quality player on a great defense. His numbers don’t tell the whole story because he was playing alongside James Laurinaitis who was a tackle machine. He was a good downhill LB that could take on and shed blockers pretty well and had pretty good speed and athleticism. His instincts weren’t the greatest and wasn’t very good in man coverage, but he could drop into a zone fairly effectively. With all that said, I definitely wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on him.

  5.  shmitty013 says:

    ProFootballTalk ?@ProFootballTalk
    We’re now hearing there’s a chance the cap could be a little higher than $121.5 million for 2013.

    Here’s to hoping this is the case.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      This cap garbage really ought to be examined closely. Obviously, the owners ran circles around De Smith and got a deal that was WAY too good for them. But guess what? That didn’t only hurt the players. It hurt us, the fans. It’s ridiculous that so many quality players are lost by their teams after those teams developed them. Meanwhile, the bottom line for the owners, most of whom already have enormous unrealized capital gains on their investments in the teams, much of which has been borrowed against and thereby helped build enormous family fortunes via investments in things having nothing to do with football, just keeps getting better and better.

      When the next CBA negotiation comes up the fans ought to demand a seat at the table because otherwise the whole thing gets dominated by the owners and the television networks. It has become a disgusting display of incredible greed at the cost of a product of lesser quality that the owners and networks cynically realize can still be sold to the NFL-starved fans.

      While I’m not a huge fan of David Stern, truth be told, the NBA salary structure allows a team willing to spend money to field a starting team that is 40% superstars, 20% stars, and 40% excellent specialists who complement the stars and near-stars. Then the other seven members of the team must be carefully put together with a large portion of the remaining salary allocation going to the #6 and #7 men, and the last five members of the team sharing what’s left and generally brought in from among the journeymen good enough to stick around for years. The NFL should go to a cap system that allows a well-run team to retain enough of their own draftees and UDFAs that they, too, can field starting teams of 22 with 13-14 of them being superstars or stars who have been almost entire home-developed. That would be a huge advantage for the smart teams like the Giants and prevent the lousier, lazier teams from just waiting around to pick off a few solid players after their rookie contracts with the better teams. They’d wise up too and the whole league would be better off. It could be done by throwing another $25-30MM into the cap. As long as a team like the Giants increases in asset value by about 4-5% each year that would mean the owners are simply throwing about half of that unrealized, therefore untaxed, increase back into the pot.

      The players are getting hosed by a bunch of really greedy owners. And the fans get hit in the crossfire.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    I really, really, really, want a cornerback taken in the first two rounds. I just don’t want it to be Mathieu.

    He is a playmaker. Wouldn’t mind him on the team as a fourth corner and primary kick returner. If he’s around when we’re making our fifth or sixth pick I’d be okay with that. We have too many pressing needs to take him earlier.

  7.  giantsou812 says:

    come on man 5’9″, this is not midget football, sorry short folks.
    we need a 6′ plus at corner with the first pick and need to pick up another one in the later rounds.

  8.  Jason McEwan says:

    Mayock sees him as a 4th rounder at best.

  9.  Jason McEwan says:

    I’d much rather if you had linked a highlight video as oppose to a “coming clean” video.

  10.  giankees says:

    Reese will not pick him up in hte 2nd round. 3rd maybe or 4th definitely but 2nd is way too early. he is not worthy of a #2 for Reese.

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