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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Schiano keeps watchful eye on secondary in Mobile

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Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 10:21 AM
MOBILE, Ala. -

Being an old defensive backs coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has a tendency to gravitate toward the secondary anytime he takes in a football practice.

That's how it was during Bucs workouts this year and that's how it was Tuesday at the Senior Bowl workouts at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where Schiano spent the better part of the morning locked in on the corners and safeties.

Schiano was sandwiched between Bucs GM Mark Dominik and scouting director Dennis Hickey, who had to be impressed, at the very least, with the physical play of the group.

The likes of Will Davis (Utah State), Jordan Poyer (Oregon State) and Desmond Trufant (Washington) showed a keen willingness to mix it up against both the pass and the run.

But Davis was among those who also showed a tendency to get beat, particularly when quarterback-turned-wide receiver Dennard Robinson (Michigan) beat him with a double move on what proved to be a long touchdown play.

Robinson is making a difficult transition and it's not helping that he's been hampered by an elbow injury that has forced him to be limited each of the first two days.

At this point, scouts, coaches and GMs simply aren't seeing enough of Robinson to judge whether he can make the switch and be an impact player at a new position in the NFL.

But at least he's on the field. The same cannot be said for Tyrann Mathieu, the explosive cornerback from LSU who became known as the "Honey Badger" before he was kicked off his college team before the start of the 2012 season for allegedly failing a drug test.

Mathieu is coming off his junior season and seems destined to try to make it to the NFL, so he's been here the last two days trying to grab the attention of scouts and GMs. So far he's doing a pretty good job of that.

Mathieu, who watched Monday's and Tuesday's workouts from a spot in the stands, said he's had about a dozen interviews with teams already this week and is hopeful someone will take a chance on him come draft day.

Who knows, maybe the Bucs will roll the dice on Mathieu. It all depends on if they feel he's matured enough to avoid getting into the kind of trouble that cost him his gig at LSU.

There's no question he has talent. Mathieu, who possesses blazing speed and great ball recognition skills, was a playmaker not just as a defensive back but also as a return man at LSU. He's clearly one of the top prospects, at least talent-wise, in this year's pool.

The Senior Bowl workouts continue today, when a lot of scouts will be looking for the likes of QBs Zac Dysert (Miami, Ohio) and Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) to play at a higher level than they have so far.

It's safe to say that both have been rather disappointing, although Nassib is said to be interviewing extremely well, showing off an elite-level ability to recognize defenses and run the offense.

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