February 20, 2013
Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has gone from a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore to a player whose off-field problems left him without a team to a guy who just wants to convince some NFL franchise to give him a chance. In an attempt to prove he's committed, he's working with one of the best young players in the league at his position.
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who played with Mathieu at LSU, has been pushing Mathieu through pre-Combine workouts, which are being overseen by Peterson's dad, Patrick Peterson Sr. The elder Peterson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the 6-foot-1, 219-pound Peterson is making the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mathieu get physical with him, the way a receiver like Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson would get physical with a smaller cornerback.
"Patrick goes at him hard; he'll push him on the ground or whatever he's got to do to get Tyrann prepared," Peterson Sr. said. "NFL wide receivers are a whole other animal with Julio and Megatron. He's a small guy already and they're going to want to take advantage of his size. But Tyrann is very tough, a tough guy to muscle because he's pretty strong himself."
Although he was one of the best defensive and special teams players in college football in 2011, Mathieu has two strikes against him in that his size is far from ideal for the NFL, and that his off-field problems ended his college career early. There's not much Mathieu can do about either of those problems now, but what he can do is show up at the Combine in good shape. Peterson is making sure that happens.