Matthews Brings Excellent Pedigree To Atlanta
Welcome to the Atlanta Falcons, Jake Matthews! And based what we saw in the press conference, he’s excited to be in ATL.
He’s not just one of the top offensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft. He’ll be also the second Matthews to play for the Falcons; his uncle, Clay Jr., spent his last two pro seasons with Atlanta. And did I fail to mention that he’s the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews? If he shines for at least 10 years, hopefully all with the Falcons, then Jake could even join his father in Canton.
I'm glad that the Falcons stayed at pick No. 6. The team, through their Facebook page, explained that they would have given up first round picks for the next two years, “and then some.” It would have be risky, considering they probably need most of their 10 draft picks to fill in position needs without spending free agency money. The trade would have also been a costly one, had the Falcons used the Houston Texans pick. They still could have selected Matthews with that pick, or they would have went with Clowney. Selecting the latter would have been more controversial, because as I mentioned various times, he will be either the next LT or next Aundray Bruce.
But by staying at the sixth overall pick, Atlanta was able to see how the first five picks playes out and picked the best available player. Matthews was not only the best player still on the board, he was also the safest pick. The Falcons have a potential starter in the former TAMU Aggie, while adding more to a veteran yet injury-plagued offensive line.
Arthur Blank and Co. wanted more toughness in the team, and so far they got it in a player who happens to come from a family of tough guys. He successfully blocked for one of most dynamic athletes in college football and played against quality defenses (i.e., SEC competition). He’ll do well protecting Matt Ryan against Rex Ryan’s blitzes and Lovie Smith’s famed Tampa 2.
Expect Matthews to play right away. I see him competing with Ryan Schraeder for the starting left tackle spot, which he will win and hopefully keep for years to come. If Schraeder beats him, then the rookie can still fight for a starting spot on the right side. But unless Sam Baker injures himself again, I don’t think Matthews will have a strong chance of dethroning him. Either way, Matthews will certainly be Ryan’s blind-side protector for the future.