Count former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu among the 2013 NFL Draft prospects that will make a pre-draft visit with the Buffalo Bills. That according to NFL.com's Albert Breer, who lists the Bills among 10 teams with which Mathieu has already scheduled visits.
Aside from perhaps Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, there is probably no more intriguing draft storyline this year than the one involving the artist formerly known as Honey Badger. A college football darling and one of the elite players in the nation in 2010 and 2011 (his true freshman and sophomore seasons), the former Heisman Trophy finalist and Chuck Bednarik award winner didn't play football at LSU thanks to multiple drug test failures, a withdrawal from school to enter rehab, a re-enrolling at school, and another drug arrest a month later.
His repeated abuse of marijuana has been the subject of debate for months, and reached a fever pitch at the Combine in Indianapolis. There, Mathieu measured in at 5'9" and 186 pounds, running a 4.50-second 40-yard dash. The off-field red flags have hindered his potential ascent as a prospect, as the quick and scrappy Mathieu has elite ball skills and could potentially develop into an upper-tier slot corner at the NFL level.
In his two years at LSU, Mathieu recorded 133 tackles and four interceptions. He was also an elite punt returner in 2011 (where he replaced Patrick Peterson in the lineup), averaging 17.2 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 25 returns.
Buffalo's interest is intriguing because of the presence of former LSU cornerback Ron Brooks on the roster. A fourth-round draft pick of the Bills last season, the 5'10", 190-pound Brooks toiled in relative anonymity at LSU as he played behind Peterson, 2012 first-round pick Morris Claiborne and Mathieu on the depth chart. Brooks remains something of a project, and the Bills have serious questions at the slot cornerback position, where Mathieu would represent a massive talent upgrade for the team.
Whether or not the Bills' interest in Mathieu will increase, however, seems tied to how well he checks out on the team's character score card. Clearly, he's got some work to do on that front.