Posted: 11:09 pm Thursday, May 8th, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Falcons select OT Jake Matthews 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Jake Matthews, 6-5, 305, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons select offensive tackle Jake Matthews from Texas A&M on Thursday in the NFL draft.

Here’s our pre-draft story on Matthews:

Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is set to enter the family business in the NFL.

Matthews, is one of the top lineman prospects in the NFL draft, which is set for Thursday through Saturday. He is the son of Bruce Matthews, who played 19 seasons before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He’s also the grandson of Clay Matthews Sr., nephew of Clay Matthews Jr. and cousin of Clay Matthews III and Casey Matthews, who all have played in the NFL. The are local ties, too. Matthews Sr., played at Georgia Tech, and Matthews Jr., had a stint (1994-96) with the Falcons.

“I’d like to think I wasn’t grandfathered in (laughs),” Matthews said. “I hope I earned my way here. It is special, the family I came from and the relationships.”

Matthews likely is the best-prepared player in the draft.

“My dad, cousins and brothers and all the people have gone through this process,” Matthews said. “So, that’s really special and something (where) I can look to them to ask what it was like, what their experience with it was. So, far it’s been good.”

Matthews moved to left tackle last season for the Aggies after Luke Joeckel left early for the NFL and was drafted second overall by Jacksonville. However, he doesn’t feel any additional pressure because of his family name.

“I just try to go out there and do the best I can,” Matthews said.

His father has not been overbearing, Matthews said, but has offered advice.

“One thing my dad’s always tried to reiterate with me is, if you go out and work hard and do things the right way and put your full effort in, you’ll get the results you want,” Matthews said. “That’s something I’ve always tried to do.”

Some contend that Matthews is over-hyped. Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan also are considered top tackles in the draft and both may be selected ahead of Matthews, although ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said all three “are not going to last very long.”

There’s speculation that the Falcons may trade up to land Robinson, a mauler from Auburn.

“For the Atlanta Falcons, they need some of that physicality,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “They don’t have it. They were too finesse. They were too passive. That offensive line for the Atlanta Falcons was one of the worst in the NFL last year.

“Matt Ryan paid the price for that. Steven Jackson paid the price for that. Atlanta has got to get a lot better.”

The Falcons could sit tight at six and take Lewan.

“His pass-protection skills have improved to the point this year where they weren’t beating him,” Kiper said. “He battles. He fights. He has great feet, great balance. He has a great punch. He can get after you as a run blocker. To me, Lewan is a nasty, tough street fighter, he’s a battler.”

After the top three tackles, Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, Virginia’s Morgan Moses and Nevada’s Joel Bitonio rank as potential first-round picks. Martin started 52 games for the Fighting Irish and turned a lot of heads at the Senior Bowl. ESPN draft analyst Jon Gruden said Bitonio “can play right (tackle), left (tackle) or go inside.”

But Matthews, who elected to return for his senior season at Texas A&M, stands out, in part, because of the family name.

“One of the biggest (reasons for staying in College Station) was the opportunity to play with my younger brother (Mikey),” Matthews said. “He started at center for us last year, and that was something (I) could never do again. … That was something real special, something I’ll always remember.”

Matthews, who considers Missouri’s Kony Ealy the toughest defender he faced in the SEC, is considered the most technically sound of the top tackles. But he also showed the ability to adjust while blocking for scrambling quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“It’s definitely different,” Matthews said. “Ever since Johnny took over, I’ve been answering this question — you really don’t know what to expect, he’s all over the place.

“But at the same time, you’ve got to take what comes with it because the guy makes plays. He’s proved it game after game. Like I said, I’m just trying to go out there and give him time and let him do what he does.”

Matthews has heard that NFL teams think Robinson has more upside.

“Being considered a polished player, someone who’s done a lot and played well in my life, I’ll take that as a (compliment),” Matthews said. “At the same time, I still feel like there’s a lot I can get better at. Definitely wouldn’t say I’m at my peak.”

Matthews believes that he can play left tackle in the NFL, but wouldn’t mind starting his career at right tackle. He felt toward the end of his senior season, that he was NFL-ready.

As a junior, he wasn’t sure if he was ready to make the jump. He believes there is competition between the top tackles in the draft.

“I mean they’re great players,” Matthews said. “But at the same time, I think I’m a great player, too.”

Some believe that Matthews could go as high as second overall to the St. Louis Rams and play for Jeff Fisher his dad’s coach with the Titans.

“I was just a kid running around when my dad was playing,” Matthews said. “There is that connection for sure. I would love to play for him.”

He credits his dad with helping him make the transition to the offensive line in high school. He had been a quarterback in youth football.

“I mean, having a Pro Football Hall of Famer help you figure out the position is definitely beneficial and helped to make me the player I am today,” Matthews said.

No matter where he lands, Matthews looks forward to putting a block on Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews III. The cousins train together. Also, trying to pick up a tip or two, Matthews has gone back and studied his dad’s game film.

“I think my earliest memory of him playing is when (the Titans) went to the Super Bowl in ’99,” Matthews said. “He’s just a guy who played hard, finished, (and was) really impressive to watch. I’m proud to call him my father. … I’m trying to do the same thing he did, and if I could do half the things he did, I think I’d have a great career.”

Matthews just doesn’t know if he can get in nearly two decades in the league.

“It’s going to be hard to get to 19 years and 14 straight Pro Bowls, that could be difficult,” he said. “That’s a pretty lofty goal to shoot for.”

1. Houston: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.

2. St. Louis: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn.  

3. Jacksonville: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida.

4. Cleveland (trade to Buffalo): Bills:  Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

5. Oakland: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD

–A look at Louisville LB Preston Brown

–A look at Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

–A look at Texas OLB/DE Jackson Jeffcoat

–A look at West Virginia RB Charles Sims

–A look at Auburn DE Dee Ford

–A look at Brigham Young OLB Kyle Van Noy

–A look at Arizona State OLB/DE Carl Bradford

--A look at Missouri DE Kony Ealy

–A look at Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

–A look at Alabama S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix

–A look at Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman

–A look at Boston College QB Chase Rettig

–A look at Oregon RB De’Anthony Thomas

–A look at Central Florida RB Storm Johnson

–A look at USC TE Xavier Grimble

–A look at Ohio State OT Jack Mewhort

–A look at Louisville S Calvin Prior

–A look at Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier

–A look at Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde

–A look at UCLA LB Anthony Barr

–A look at Florida State C Bryan Stork

–A look at South Carolina QB Connor Shaw

–A look at Florida TE/WR Trey Burton

–BLOG: A list of the confirmed players at LOCALS DAY on Tuesday

–BLOG: FSU linebacker Telvin Smith visited the Falcons on Monday

–Falcons check out Towson State RB Terrance West, CB Jordan Love (UGA transfer)

–MyAJC ($): Eye-test vs. Tape-measure test: Falcons must trust their eyes during draft prep. 

2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL

–Mock Draft 1.0: Falcons trade out of sixth spot to land Pryor and Ebron

–12 teams who could draft UGA star Aaron Murray

–Louisville LB Preston Brown to work out for the Falcons

–Louisville DE Marcus Smith to work out for the Falcons

–MyAJC ($): OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford shine at Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Tackle Greg Robinson on Auburn’s Pro Day

–VIDEO: Running back Tra Mason on Auburn’s Pro Day

–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing

–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day

122 comments
seminoleking
seminoleking

another CHARACTER pick by a atlanta sports team. shouldve drafted taylor lewan. matthews hasnt proved he can run block either. the falcons lines, both offense and defense, have got punked the last five years going. 50 years in atlanta, and ZERO superbowl championships.....

notPlanB
notPlanB

TD has trouble picking OL from late first round through the 7th round (see record). That's why it was good to get a proven one where everyone could have made the pick.

Jmonty
Jmonty

Smart pick!  The "O" line is horrible.  I think next they may go with a DE or LB.  Depends on who is left on the board.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

And Matthews might not be the mauling run blocker Robinson is but Robinson is a guard IMO. Matthews knows how to position his body to shield the defender and allow the RB to run behind him. It's all about technique and Matthews is the ultimate technician. He can get to the 2nd level and wall off a LB. 


GREAT PICK! I can't say that enough!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

For anybody hating on this pick, you're an idiot. Turn on the tape. Matthews is a wall. Matt Ryan is going to have all kinds of time back there in the pocket and that'll allow him to hit Julio, Roddy, Douglas, etc down field. Linemen don't score touchdowns but they sure do help. They are essential to success on offense

MikeS777
MikeS777

This was a great pick.  The Falcons didnt need to mess around here.  Go get a big body and continue to build the line of scrimmage up.  I think they got the right guy.  Gruden showed how Robinson just didnt have great foot work all the time, and tended to hold a lot.  

G_
G_

Another pick to provide a blanket for Matt.  Not a bad pick, but we should've gone with Lewan.  He's a guy that could better support our running game. Jake is a nice guy, that's fit's in with our nice team.


What I notice is our offense thrives on a strong running attack, not the passing game.  Last year was our first year without Turner, but Matt was healthy.  Four wins.  Yet, we still continue to bring in resources to "strengthen" the passing game, when we're not  a strong passing team.  The 4,500 yds passing and 26 TDs from Matt should've produced more than 4 wins.  That should tell us something, but we continue down a path that will not work......then scratch our heads and wonder why. 


Our offense will not work without a solid running attack.  It's a passing league, but we've always succeeded when we run the ball.

DRIFTER 12345
DRIFTER 12345

Barves loss again is quite clear that youthink a lot of ohny football it would be awesome if you moved to Cleland [as you say it ] and hooked up with him  maybe he coudhelp you with your spelling

TampGator1
TampGator1

No one gets overly excited about drafting an OL in the first round except the QB of that team.  I am sure Matt Ryan came out of his chair last night with his fists raised and yelling......"Heck yaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!"    

JacketMan
JacketMan

If Robinson wasn't available at six (and I wouldn't have traded up because I think the Falcons need their draft choices to fill a bunch of their own holes too badly), then I would have been fine with either Mathews or Lewan. Now that the Falcons have filled that major need, then I'll be fine going for an outside pass rusher (Dee is gone in the first round, and my second choice is Attaochu, but he may be gone by the Falcons choose) or defensive lineman (like Nix from Notre Dame).

Tight end, another offensive lineman, running back, linebacker; I don't care where the Falcons go from there - either pick for need; take the highest player left on their board.

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Flacon blue it win they did not pix Johny Fottball. Cuz of that I will no loner post here ever agian. I will now B come a Cleaveland Borwns fan and part of the dog pund!


WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!!!

MikeisBack
MikeisBack

DLed, I'm very excited about Matthews...I thought TD showed a great level of restraint.  We got us a stud!!




WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

We Georgians are the problem, not the pick.

Around here we don't have much regard for lineman and defense.

We want championships , but we want to short cut it.

That is why we always come up short. 

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

We Georgians are the problem, not the pick.

Around here we don't have much regard for lineman and defense.

We want championships , but we want to short cut it.

That is why we always come up short. 


Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

A+ for the Falcons. He will be a 12-year starter in ATL.

Old_Man
Old_Man

D-Led, who're we pickin' today???

FlexD16
FlexD16

D-LED What's this rumor about Eric Berry coming to The Birds for a second round pick? Any truth to this? 

Mr_Ected
Mr_Ected

Savvy move by the Falcons' front office.  With Matthews being able to shift from right to left tackle, they can now phase out Mr. Baker and not have to admit that their long-term experiment was a mistake.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Anything should be an upgrade from last year, the question lies in where do you go from here?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

We have so many issues at 4-12, with only 2 teams worse than us - yet again all we care about here is our Offense every year drafting for the Offense - and now 2014 more of the same.  I would've preferred Justin Gilbert.  Our defense absolutely sucks.  What passes for a running back here is just awful.  We have nothing on Defense.  Yeah, our OL is bad, too.  What's not bad ?  What's our biggest problem ?  Texas A & M did not beat anyone with him returning his senior year.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

re:

But Matthews, who elected to return for his senior season at Texas A&M, stands out, in part, because of the family name.

============================

You take the best OT regardless of family name or "bloodlines" as the ESPN guys kept saying.

Lewan is clearly better than Matthews and will probably be a better Pro.

Lewan is the only other OT tha was close to Robinson in overall  athleticism, you get the best athlete that you can that also has great film and is coachable.

Bloodlines won't mean squat when we cannot get a critical 4th & 1 next season.

Typical,  politically correct Atl. Falcons draft choice.

zuzu331
zuzu331

@seminoleking  Matthews was the very best pick they couldve made.He is the opposite of soft and is on record as the most NFL ready Tackle in the draft as assessed by the vast majority of NFL draft pros. Go talk your pointless negative trolling trash elsewhere.The seminoles SUCK!

seminoleking
seminoleking

@G_   thats what i been trying to tell them. another CHARACTER pick for a atlanta team. is it a coincidence that seattle, san fran, and all the winning teams have THUGS on their rosters?......lol denver is ANOTHER NICE TEAM.........and ran scared when they came up on the legion of doom in the superbowl......lol teams come to the georgia dome and do the dirty bird in the falcons faces........

TampGator1
TampGator1

@Barves_Loss_Agian


I am glad you seek your 15 minutes of fame on here every day intentionally misspelling words rather than doing something even more stupid somewhere else.. 

BigGAdawg
BigGAdawg

@Barves_Loss_Agian Good riddance.  Your post may be the silliest I have seen...it  certainly shows the least amount of understanding of the game and the Falcons needs I have seen from anyone.

notPlanB
notPlanB

I really don't think TD is in charge anymore.

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

@FlexD16 It's a bunch of B.S. that some regular caller to sports radio started. I just happen to hear him make the same call to two different stations.

It ain't gonna happen.


notPlanB
notPlanB

I have trouble calling this pick savvy. Good pick whether Matthews or Lewan.

Caius
Caius

@MikeBanning  

History proves Banning knows very little about football. He is big on opinions and short on knowledge.

forexbomb
forexbomb

@MikeBanning  Sorry Mike, but you are showing your lack of football IQ...  This is a helluva football player, and just what the Falcons need... Period.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

@MikeBanning  Have to agree with others here.  Lewan is not better than Matthews.  In fact, until the silly combine Matthews was rated the clear #1 OL of this years draft.


Point blank, Matthews is by far the best pass blocking tackle of the three.  Robinson is better at run blocking, while Lewan is inferior to both and gets eaten up by speed (which is much more common in the NFL than college, especially the Little Ten).  


Your post shows you are clearly a Lewan fan and I have no problem with that, but your comments go against almost every expert out there and you talk as if they were facts.  

zuzu331
zuzu331

@MikeBanning  Lewan has consistently been rated lower than Matthews. Being from an entire family of football TRex s cannot possibly be twisted into a negative,yet thats what you have done for some reason. Whaaaaaatever...

GGee
GGee

Im pretty sure that your gig is up. Theres no way someone makes that many grammatical errors in a sentence. Quit pretending to be an idiot on the blogs. Get a life.

stinkypinky
stinkypinky

Even though I hate the bow tie look.  I can deal with it D-Led as long as you aren't also rockin' the size smeduim/extra medium aka Pee Wee Herman tight high water suit to go with it................... LOL.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@forexbomb

I simply feel that Lewan is the much better overall Athlete and will have  a higher ceiling and become a better pass-blocking LT vs. the NFL's better speed rushers.

If Matthews were born with a different last name, a lot of his accolades would have disappeared.

The top-2 OTs in terms of upside, athleticism, and NFL potential were Lewan and Robinson, and then then next 4  guys were kind  of a toss-up, Matthews, James (Tenn.), Moses (UVa.), Martin (ND).

That's just my opinion.

Blank wanted the interior lines to get more mean and nasty and yet we passed on Lewan, for a guy with "bloodlines" but lesser athleticism than Lewan.

BTW, Lewan was called one of the biggest steals of the 1st round last night.


notPlanB
notPlanB

@BigGAdawg - are you saying you have a feeling that Matt Ryan is thinking things will be better with Matthews there?

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@BigGAdawg

The combination of better testing at the combine and pro-days, plus his game film at Michigan is why I think/feel that Lewan will be the better LT vs. NFL caliber speed rushers than Matthews.

Many Draft experts had Robinson & Lewan as the best 2 among the OTs, and then the next 3-4 guys were a toss-up, I'm not the only person to think that way.

BigGAdawg
BigGAdawg

@MikeBanningYour opinions should be formed from thoughts not feelings. "I simply feel that Lewan is the much better..." There is a huge difference.  Overall you sound more emotional than thoughtful.  Are you a little girl or do you just play one on the blogs.


The fact of the matter is that Lewan is a great athlete but has never played anything but LT, whereas Matthews has played LT and RT and is considered able to play anywhere on the line other than center.  

Both are great athletes and both will have strong and long careers (barring injury) but Matthews has been rated ahead of Lewan and several great OL guys all along.  As for him being "called one of the biggest steals of the 1st round" the talking heads have taken every possible position on every player in dozens of mock drafts and interviews.  No matter what happens they can say "I told you so".  After every pick they take immediate steps to make themselves look good. 

As for his heritage, it means he knows he has a lot to live up to and it means he got some of the best tutoring possible as he grew up.  His dad seems to have instilled a first rate work ethic in this young man.  

I could not be happier with this pick and I look forward to seeing him step on the field. I would bet real money that after all the sacks and QB hurries from last year that Ryan is thinking that way also.



POAD2014
POAD2014

@DirtyB8 HISTORY is anything that happened Yesterday and beyond. What have the Falcons done? 1 trip to the Superbowl.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@DirtyB8  Falcons don't have the History of either TECH or UGa what are you talking about?

POAD2014
POAD2014

Not going to happen.


did you see about the girls at UGa looking to hire a HITMAN to avoid taking their finals