Oh, the offseason. The time where everyone gets to bring out their inner Loomis.
The combine: I didn't get to watch as much as I wanted to, but I tried to follow it as close as i could. There were some pretty impressive performances out there (Cornelius Washington anyone?). It seems like a lot of guys did some serious rising and dropping on a lot of Mock Draft boards over the past month.
There have not been too many other players that can even compete with how often Tyrann Mathieu comes up as a desirable pick in the CSC community. I watched almost every game that Mathieu played in a Tiger uniform. There is no debating that he does have an excellent football instinct. But this will not be John Brantley or Chris Relf under center on Sunday. And he is over a year out of full contact football.
Then came the combine. Mathieu shows his athletic ability in drills, he still has it. But what's with the 4 reps at 225? I'm not expecting him to throw it up 15 times or anything, but FOUR? Shouldn't he have worked on that during his entire year off? Big WRs will eat his lunch at the line of scrimmage (run blocking, contact inside 5 yards) if all he can do is FOUR reps of 225.
Scenario 1: There is a possibility that Mathieu could actually be gone before we can even pick him in round 3. Sounds silly right? Well some of you have mentioned why it might happen. HE'S THE HONEY BADGER! Former defensive player of the year in 2011, former Heisman candidate in 2011, and a very electric return man. While the Saints COULD easily take the big risk of drafting Mathieu in round 3, there are quite a few other teams that could do the same.
As nauseating as this sounds, the 49ers have 15 picks in this draft. As a matter of fact, San Fran picks right before us in the 3rd round at 74. When they make that pick, it will be their FOURTH pick in the draft (before we can even make our 2nd). Why wouldn't San Fran take a shot at Mathieu (very low risk for them)? Or Arizona at 69 (been working with Peterson)? Or even Tampa at 73 (CB being a spot that they can use)?
Scenario 2: Saints decide to cover more pressing needs with safer picks. There are a lot of free agent CBs out there this season. Some of them could possibly be affordable and could work out to where we might land one. This draft is deep with front 7 defensive talent so I would much rather see us take a NT or OLB in round 3, with the opposite picked in round 1. (I know on the other side of that, saying that the draft is deep at both positions that maybe we should wait and take one of the other guys later on. I believe that at NT and OLB there are a number of really good players draftable in the first 3 rounds and want to get a nice piece of that pie at each position) In the 4th round, I feel like we could use a tackle if Bushrod is not resigned. Considering how damn expensive a decent tackle is in the NFL today, I'd much rather reach for a bargain here than spend it on a short CB that hasn't played football in a year.
By the time I would be comfortable to pick Mathieu in round 5, I'm pretty positive that he will be off of the board. Someone (like the Raiders) will take a chance on him based upon his return ability alone and will try to groom him to be a legit NFL CB.
So while I understand that Mathieu's potential is worthy of a 3rd round pick, it just doesn't fit the overall Saints situation to use our 3rd on him. Probably not the 4th pick either, unless Bushrod is resigned. Free agency can cover the CB situation, if the money is there.