The closest comparison of a player over the years I can think of is a guy named Chris Canty who played for Kansas State back in the mid-90's. Chris played for the Hawks for at least part of a season. He was amazing in college. He was the best DB in the country his last season, but he just never had "it" in the NFL. Chris wasn't a head-case in the way that Honey Badger seems to be, but he was always known as a me-first kind of guy and came off as a wanna-be Deion Sanders without all of the talent. He was a bit undersized, but had a game very much like Mathieu.
So yeah, I think a team will certainly take a chance on him, but things are changing because of Goodell and the ease with which he'll take a season away without much thought. This kid will come into the league with a target on him. If he says he'll enter a voluntary weekly testing program and do all of the things that Dez Bryant is doing now and should have done from day 1 then who knows.... the sky could be the limit.
I kind of feel like he's more Devin Hester than Adam Jones though in big play ability. Both great when they get the ball in their hands, but Hester wasn't really a DB, but he was listed as one in college (but drafted as an "athlete"). There was no way he was going to play that position of DB as a pro though. Mathieu can play DB as a pro like PacMan has and yes, he could be an excellent option as an "athlete", but I think I have to go back to my example of Burfict on a player that is an NFL quality player and has played really well, was a real thumper in college, and went completely unpicked. Yes, he was a LBer and they are easier to find than great DB's, but I think he'll have a very short leash and will go to a team like Dallas that thinks they can handle anything. I don't see him ending up in Seattle. I wish him all the luck in the world and hope he finds some happiness. I am quite the bleeding heart and I'll freely admit it. Over the years I've met more than my fair share of drug addicts, and in almost every case they were self-medicating over some pretty severe issues. Rarely did it start out as "just for fun" and develop to a hardcore drug addiction. Those who experiment with drugs in college and high school and such and don't have some deep underlying "issue" just typically leave it behind and don't fall into addiction. That's why when they talk about politicians who smoked pot once or 100 times in college I just don't care. I'd care if they were baked with their hand on the button. But in general, we all did stuff in college that we wouldn't want on camera. Hopefully this is the case with Mathieu. If not... then I hope he gets his head right and makes a living doing something that he's clearly very good at.
R.I.P. Dad. I miss you. You will never be forgotten
1/12/39 - 8/7/08