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Tyrann Mathieu working hard to make combine impact

During his marathon conference call on Monday, NFL Network draft czar Mike Mayock surmised that former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu would struggle to make an impression in drills at this week's NFL Scouting Combine.

"He's a better football player than an athlete," said Mayock, who sees the "Honey Badger" as a fourth-round prospect.

Still, the combine is a hugely important event for Mathieu, who was suspended his entire junior season following failed drug tests and an arrest for marijuana possession. It's been reported that Mathieu has cleaned up his act in recent months and he's prepared for the combine by training at the workout camp of Patrick Peterson Sr., the father of the Arizona Cardinals star.

"He's going to be good. He's going in strong," Peterson Sr. said, via The Times-Picayune. "He's looking like Tyrann. He's staying away from the off-field stuff and he's focused."

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Mathieu recently ran a hand-timed 4.47 in the 40-yard dash according to Peterson Sr., who said they were "real proud of that time." Mathieu has also been working out with the younger Peterson, who also attended LSU.

"He looks like he means business, very locked in," Peterson Sr. said. "He knows he can't get another strike. He's conformed to our rules, working out and trying to get better."

With the exception of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, no player at the combine will be more scrutinized during the interview process than Mathieu. Teams want to see if his physical skills translate at the NFL level, but getting a gauge on his head space will be equally essential.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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