After studying the tackle position for the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s pretty clear that the top of the position’s talent pool is superior to that which we saw go off the board early in the 2013 draft. Jake Matthews, the starting left tackle for Texas A&M, is part of the reason.
There’s no denying the pedigree when it comes to Matthews and his talented genes. The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake enters the NFL Draft process as ready as any prospect possibly could. NFL football and the Matthews name goes hand in hand, and Jake looks to be the next in a long line of professional football success for the family.
Matthews started every game at left tackle for the Aggies this year after starting on the right side the previous two seasons. He’s a highly decorated prospect, with All Conference, All American and positional awards littered across his resume.
Below is FRG Scouting’s take on Jake Matthews.
NAME: JAKE MATTHEWS
Position: Offensive Tackle
Strengths: Athletic Ability, Pass Protection, Technique, Experience
Weaknesses: Strength, Hands, Sustain blocks
Standing 6’5″, 305lbs, Jake Matthews presents with the measureables of an athletic blind-side protector…Matthews’ frame has the potential to add bulk, as he could end up being a 315lb pro…Matthews is fit and muscular, and while he isn’t very “broad,” he does possess a good trunk…Possesses a great combination of “good enough” strength and very good technique…Able to sit in his stance well and shows the ability to anchor versus the bull rush…While not quite a mauler, Matthews does play with enough strength to avoid being classified as strictly a finesse player…Possesses quick feet and takes efficient steps, especially in his kick-slide…Will not lose many races to the edge…Possesses top-tier COD; can mirror oncoming pass rushers with little effort…Quick and agile enough to get to the second level and complete an assignment in space on running plays…Able to move like a much smaller man; can lead the charge like a fullback in the run game.
Matthews must improve his hand play; At times, his hand placement gets sloppy resulting in a bit of a “grabber” style…Needs to become more of a velcro player; needs to stick on his assignments longer in the run game.
After taking over the left tackle spot for last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Luke Joeckel (Jaguars), Matthews did nothing to hurt his 2014 NFL Draft value. While some will suggest that Matthews benefited by the elusive style of play exhibited by Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M), I’d argue that that concern was more justified with Joeckel. Matthews is a very, very good athlete who has a fantastic foundation of polished technique. He’s going to be a plug and play starter at the left tackle position, as he has showcased the athletic ability to compete versus NFL defensive ends. Assuming his strength holds up (or that he gets stronger), there’s no doubt that he will be a pro bowl caliber player sooner than later.
Grade: 8.9 (High-1st round)