This offseason, the New York Giants have significantly bolstered their depth at the cornerback position through the acquisition of Aaron Ross and re-signing Terrell Thomas. Currently, there are five cornerbacks on the roster with starting experience, three of which have Super Bowl rings. However, with Ross and Corey Webster set to hit free agency in 2014 and Thomas' injury concerns, the Giants do not posses long-term depth at cornerback. If LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is available in the mid-rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Giants may look into selecting him. And if the team does bring in the troubled prospect, former LSU standout Corey Webster would have no problem mentoring Mathieu.
Webster came to the Giants as a second-round draft pick in 2005 after spending four seasons at LSU from 2001 through 2004. While playing for the Tigers, Webster was a three-time first-team All-SEC player, a two-time first-team All-American and graduated as one of the most accomplished defensive backs in school history. Although Webster had a disastrous 2012 campaign for the Giants, he is a two-time Super Bowl champion and has been a solid player in the secondary for the majority of his career.
Before marijuana abuse got Matheu dismissed from the LSU football program, he was on his way to surpassing Webster as the most decorated cornerback in school history. As a Heisman Trophy finalist, Mathieu was in line to establish himself as one of the most dominant defensive backs in college football history. After taking a year off from football, the "Honey Badger's" draft stock has plummeted to a mid-round grade. If the Giants do decide to bring in Mathieu, Webster told Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger he would put his reputation on the line for him.
"If I’m here, I can have him right underneath my wing, so I can make sure that it’s going the right way," Webster said at Giants headquarters today. "But just from speaking (with) him and seeing and talking with the people that’s around him right now, yes."
Mathieu, who stands 5'9" and weighs 186 pounds, is much smaller than the average cornerback. As an NFL player, he would have extreme difficulty physically matching up to wide receivers in the outside. As a nickel corner or even as a safety, Mathieu could develop into a contributing player. However, with Jayron Hosley already on the roster, the Giants do not have a need for Mathieu's skill-set.
That said, if Mathieu is the best player on the Giants draft board in the fourth or fifth-round, the team will almost definitely pull the trigger. Webster says that if Mathieu does end up with Big Blue, his past transgressions will not follow him to the Meadowlands.
I do. I think he understands that he's had a couple of opportunities, a couple of chances," Webster said. "I think he knows that it's not going to continue to be that way, and since talking to him — I think the last time I spoke to him was at the Pro Day — I feel like he's made a change, a sincere change, to correct those mistakes that he's made in life, so he's ready to move forward."
The Giants will likely draft a cornerback during the early rounds of the 2013 NFL draft. If either Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant are available, general manager Jerry Reese will think long and hard about whether the position has the long-term sustainability to survive in today's pass-heavy league. If the Giants choose to address another position with their first or second-round selection, then possibility of acquiring Mathieu comes into play. If that scenario arises, Webster's leadership could go a long way in developing Mathieu into a productive NFL player.
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