With the need at the offensive tackle position, the Atlanta Falcons selected Texas A&M‘s Jake Matthews in the Rant Sports 2014 NFL Mock Draft. With around two weeks until the NFL Draft, Matthews looks to be a surefire top-10 pick. If Matthews declared for the 2013 NFL Draft, he likely would’ve gone in the top-ten, but he decided to come back for his senior season to play as the blindside tackle for Johnny Manziel in College Station.
Matthews is another product from one of the best bloodlines in the history of the NFL. Matthews’ dad, Bruce, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he is also cousins with Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers and K.C. Matthews of the Philadelphia Eagles. Matthews is coming from a good pedigree, and his transition to the next level looks to be an easy one.
At Texas A&M, Matthews improved in each and every season for the Aggies. At 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, Matthews has prototypical size to be an NFL tackle. He isn’t the most explosive athlete, but Matthews is a rock at left tackle because of his long arms and his technique. He rarely gets beaten off the ball and he is excellent in the running game. Matthews isn’t as athletic as Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan, but he has quick feet that help him get around the edge to get to the second level of the defense. Perhaps the best thing about Matthews are his legs driving into the ground after initial contact.
As a Falcon, Matthews will be asked to be Matt Ryan‘s left tackle for years to come. To make the playoffs in 2014, the Falcons will have to get past the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers’ defense in 2013 was top notch, and the Saints tend to blitz a lot in Rob Ryan’s aggressive 3-4 scheme. Having a stonewall like Matthews protecting Ryan’s back will be a smart investment in the short term and the long term for Atlanta.