Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee recently reported that Tyrann Mathieu is scheduled to visit the 49ers on April 9th. His performance at the combine and at the LSU pro day has generated a lot of interest. A player that has had some off the field issues like Mathieu has needs to go to a team that has a strong locker room with a true veteran presence.
The 49ers have a need for a corner that can bump inside and cover the slot receivers. Carlos Rogers is the best option on the roster right now. The problem is that will have an eight million dollar cap hit next year. There is a good chance that he does not return to the 49ers in 2014. Perrish Cox is another corner that has the ability to cover the slot but he saw limited time last year. He will be in the final year of a two year one million dollar contract that he signed before last season.
Tyrann Mathieu is viewed by some personnel people as the best nickel corner in the draft because of his good read-and-react ability. He always seems to be able to work his way into position to make a play on the ball. He also is effective as a blitzer. Mathieu is a feisty little player. The 49ers’ defense prides itself on creating turnovers. Mathieu would be a big contributor in that department. His six forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2011 earned him the Bednarik Award.
The 49ers also lost Ted Ginn Jr. to the Carolina Panthers via free agency. This creates a void in the return game. Kyle Williams and LaMichael James will probably be the primary returners. Mathieu would come in and compete for that spot. He has very good vision and has short area quickness. In 2011 he proved to be an impact player in the return game by ranking fourth in the country in punt return average yards. He averaged 16.2 yards per return and he scored two touchdowns. He can also help out on the coverage units. All together that is three ways that he can help this team right now.
It is obvious that Tyrann Mathieu is a good fit for the 49ers because of what he can do on the football field. Conversely, the 49ers are just as good for Mathieu. There is a strong veteran presence in the 49er locker room. Carlos Rogers may be gone next year but he can be a really good mentor both on and off the field. J
im Harbaugh has a good hold on the locker room. We saw this during the switch from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick last year. Recently, Mathieu was on NFL AM and said that he needs to go to an organization that will have a plan in place for him.
The 49ers’ organization is a respected franchise. Their coaching staff has proven themselves in two short year. The defensive backs coach is one of the best in the NFL. Ed Donatell is the kind of proven coach that can have a positive influence on Mathieu. He has worked with a lot of really good defensive backs over his career, and should be able to turn Mathieu into a good NFL player.