Atlanta Falcons’ Matthews passed Lewan after 2016 season
Atlanta Falcons fans only notice Jake Matthews when he picks up a holding penalty, not when he picks up a blitz or makes the right blocking call before the ball is snapped.
Such is the chosen life for any offensive lineman and the Atlanta Falcons left tackle doesn’t mind.
The Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews has been incredible the last two seasons and most fans have no idea. Matthews had a terrible play in Super Bowl LI when he was called for a hold which negated a big pass play from Matt Ryan and knocked the Falcons out of field goal range.
Since that play Matthews has elevated his game. In fact, Jake Matthews is currently the most underrated offensive lineman in the NFL.
When the Atlanta Falcons gave him the extension many fans were skeptical paying him that much. Matthews has been worth every penny and the Falcons did receive him on a bargain. At the time there was no one the Falcons could acquire to replace Matthews.
Luckily for the Falcons they signed him to a team friendly deal considering the price of other offensive tackles in the league. Matthews has started sixteen games from 2015-2018 and fifteen games his rookie year in 2014.
During the draft process, Matthews was regarded as one of the top offensive lineman prospects in years. There were five offensive linemen selected in the first round during the 2014 NFL Draft. Greg Robison was selected by the Rams with the second overall pick, Matthews went to the Falcons with the sixth overall pick, Taylor Lewan selected with the 11th overall pick, Zack Martin selected by the Cowboys with the 16th overall pick and Ja’Wuan James with the 19th overall pick.
This was a good class for offensive lineman as Zack Martin is a future hall of famer, Matthews and Lewan are solid, James is okay, and the only bust from this group was Greg Robinson. During the draft process many fans argued who the Falcons should take with the sixth pick.
In most mock drafts had the Falcons taking either Matthews and Lewan because most thought Clowney or Khalil Mack would not be there at the sixth pick.
Taylor Lewan had the edge early in their careers being named to a Pro Bowl early and stood out on the Titans because of the lack of talent. While Lewan was better in the beginning, Matthews passed him in talent after the 2016 season.
Matthews had better stats during the 2017 and 2018 season. Matthews has yet to be selected to a Pro Bowl and should have been named one the last two seasons.
Both players are talented and in their primes right now. However, Jake Matthews elevated his play drastically and Lewan has regressed a little bit. It will be interesting to see how both play the rest of their careers but right now Jake Matthews has the edge.