The Atlanta Falcons went into the NFL Draft hoping to find a way to acquire the first overall pick from the Texans to select Jadeveon Clowney. That didn’t happen, but the Falcons were more than happy to take offensive tackle Jake Matthews from Texas A&M off the board.
Matt Ryan needed more protection last season in a big way, and Matthews will be able to step in immediately and make a big difference in that area.
Matthews was considered the top offensive lineman in the NFL Draft along with Greg Robinson who went second overall to the Rams. He will be able to take some of the pressure off of Ryan, and will also make things easier on second-year Falcon running back Steven Jackson. There aren’t many harder workers in the draft than this guy, and his style is a perfect fit for the Atlanta system.
There are a few concerns about Matthews for the Falcons, but there aren’t any that make this a dangerous pick. He isn’t the most agile tackle, but his football IQ will help him make up for that issue. Also, he can get pushed around here and there, but his strength coaches will make sure to fix that in a hurry.
Atlanta is very happy with this selection, and it likely gives them a cornerstone offensive lineman for years to come. He is extremely strong and a hard worker, and his passion for the game is very evident in his effort. There is no doubt that the Falcons have made a good pick, and Ryan has to be extremely happy that he has a new body on the line keeping him from getting lit up like he did last season.
Overall, the Falcons made a pick that was both filling a need as well as taking one of the best players available. Matthews will slide right into the picture as a starter and will be an upgrade over what Atlanta had last year. This was a good fit, good pick, and a very good player.
Jake Matthews Draft Grade: A-