Atlanta Falcons Improve Offensive Line By Drafting Jake Matthews

Jake Matthews 2014 NFL Draft St. Louis Rams

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons were top-five in the league in sacks allowed last year and Atlanta made it their initiative to improve their offensive line over the offseason. After signing top free agent guard Jon Asamoah in free agency, the Falcons spent the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft on Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews. Sam Baker will be returning from injury next season and the Falcons will now have two competent tackles in Matthews and Baker.

Known as the best pass-blocking offensive tackle in this year’s draft class, Matthews is coming from a great football pedigree. Matthews will be the seventh member of his family to be play for an NFL team. His cousins, Clay Matthews and Casey Matthews, play respectively for the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Jake’s dad, Bruce, was a Hall of Fame offensive linemen for the Tennessee Titans. Matthews is coming from the best football family in the history of the NFL.

Although he doesn’t have top-end speed like Greg Robinson, Matthews has quick feet that help him move laterally around the edge. Another thing to remember is that it is rare to find times in the NFL when offensive tackles are running 40 yards down the field. Matthews has long arms that allow him to keep distance between him and his defender and he has terrific upper body strength.

In my opinion, Matthews is the best offensive tackle prospect in this draft and he is the most safest pick as well. By drafting Matthews, Matt Ryan will have much more time to throw the ball to his star receivers in Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Henry Douglas. Matthews has the talent to be a perennial Pro Bowler for Atlanta. His impact will be felt as early as his first season.

Ryan Ratty is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL or add him to your network on Google.


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