Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Weight: 305 lbs.
Projected Pick: Top-10, maybe even Top-5
Jake Matthews comes into the NFL draft as one of the most solid offensive lineman prospects in years. A starter since mid-way through his freshman year at Texas A&M, he has the size and strength to be a starting left tackle in the NFL right away.
His long, strong arms which allow him to keep elite pass rushers from getting to his body. Quick off the snap and a mauler in the running game, he’s ready to step in and make an impact for almost any team immediately.
He also comes with the NFL pedigree, he’s the son of former Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews.
His only major weakness is a lack of foot speed and elite athleticism that is asked of most top-tier tackles in the game today. He can at times get beaten by quicker pass rushers when he fails to move his feet.
Why The Falcons Should Draft Him:
Atlanta’s biggest needs coming into the draft are the offensive and defensive lines. With the sixth overall pick they will take one or the other, and if they go offensive line Matthews is likely to be the best available to them there.
He’s pro-ready, something that matters to a team that doesn’t want a long rebuilding process. The Falcons have the skill positions in place on offense to be productive right away, and they don’t want to take someone at six who is a project.
Matthews can step in immediately and make an impact. He’s likely the safest pick the Falcons can realistically make at the sixth overall spot.
Why The Falcons Shouldn’t Take Him:
While Matthews is a safe pick, that may not be good enough for the Falcons’ front office with a pick as high as six. They may feel like they need to take a swing at someone with higher upside that high in the draft.
Matthews might be ready to start, but he doesn’t seem to have the kind of high-end potential that other players do, including many of the pass rushers who might be available.