STRENGTHS - Mathieu's quickness and excellent footwork enable him to backpedal quickly and change direction quickly and smoothly. He turns hips quickly and combined with his quickness and speed he is able to play tight coverage down the field. He is able to plant his foot off of his backpedal and explode to the ball. He has very quick and strong hands, enabling him to strip the ball away from the ball carrier. Mathieu is an intelligent player in that when he does go for the strip he has teammates around that can finish the play if he is unable to get the ball away. He also will not overs pursue a runner in the open field and does a good job of taking good angles to keep the ball carrier contained. He is not afraid of contact and can deliver the hard hit. On punt returns, Mathieu shows great vision and his quick feet enable him to make quick cuts and with his speed he is capable of breaking away for a long return.
WEAKNESSES - Mathieu has a small frame and will be a mismatch for the bigger receivers and tight ends. He does not possess the strength to jam at the line and therefore will struggle some to play tight man at the line. He also struggles with squaring up the ball carrier and making technical tackles. He does show that he can wrap up the smaller ball carrier and while he can deliver the hard hit, he will not be able to solely rely on throwing his body into guys in the NFL. Mathieu's character issue have come into question with his substance use and was dismissed from LSU before the 2012 season.
SUMMARY - Mathieu is very quick and his terrific footwork enables him to keep up with the receivers routes and maintain tight coverage. He does a solid job of planting his foot off of his backpedal and exploding to the ball, enabling him to close quickly on the intended receiver as well as the ball carrier. Mathieu is a physical player despite his small frame and he shows that by flying to the ball carrier and delivering hard hits and will take the ball carrier head on and shows no fear of contact. He has quick and strong hands enabling him to rip the ball out of the ball carriers hands and shows his intelligence by only attempting to rip the ball out when he has teammates around that can finish the play if he is unable to cause the turnover. He has the ability to be a dangerous punt returner as the has great vision and while is more quick than he is fast, his ability to make quick and smooth cuts gives him just the same ability to break away for a long return. Aside from the substance use that caused him to be dismissed from school, his weaknesses are shadowed by his small frame and could pose a problem at the next level against the bigger, more physical receivers and tight ends. His lack of strength does not allow for him to jam successfully at the LOS and therefore could struggle in playing at the LOS. He also struggles with squaring up and delivering technical tackles due to his size. Overall, Mathieu is a tremendous athlete that performs in multiple areas at a high level. If Mathieu has learned from his dismissal and keeps his focus on football, he has the opportunity to be a very successful player at the next level, however his lack of size will prevent him from being an every down player.