I had to sleep on this one. I’ve been trumpeting all off season the Falcons’ pass rush woes. I thought the front office was locked into trading up for one of the elite edge player to make an immediate impact on defense.
After a night to digest it, I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.
I would compare the Matthews pick to getting a nice suit instead of a nice car. While the car could impress some friends, the suit would impress future employers. It’s making an investment that will increase future assets rather than future debts. Sometimes it is the un-sexy pick up that minimizes risk, maximizes reward, and invests in the future.
Matthews’s linage and college accolades are well documented. He is NFL royalty who had an outstanding college career. This guy is the perfect Dimitroff pick, passing the Comrade Filter with flying colors.
— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) May 9, 2014
When Thomas Dimitroff calls Jake Matthews a pillar of the franchise he isn’t being coy about his hopes for the OT’s future. Jake Matthews will be expected to step in day one and be a heavy contributor. His college experience leads many to believe that he could step in and immediately start at either OT spot. Combine Matthews potential with Lamar Holmes’ reported offseason progression and a RG in Jon Asamoah who has real stopping power and the entire offensive front is made over.
Jake Matthews- Left Tackle
I believe that Matthews as a player and the team as a whole would be best served with starting and sticking at LT. It wouldn’t be a given that the rookie would beat out the incumbent Sam Baker, but in an honest competition over summer camps I would bet Matthews to come away with the job. Having Matthews man the left side and Holmes take the right has much more upside/longevity than Baker at LT and Matthews at RT. Matthews needs to learn the nuances of playing LT in the NFL because that is where his skill set gives him the most upside. He might see less “fastballs” on the right side but he was drafted to be a LT so he should learn the game from that position.
He would have to beat out Baker, but Matthews has more potential than any OT in this group by a mile. I shouldn’t even have to say that because it is so obvious, but Jake’s ceiling is incredibly high. It would only hamper him to be moved around the O-line. If no favorites are played in summer camps Matthews should come out on top.
Having Matthews at LT would give Matt Ryan the most blind side protection. He played the opposite side in college, but his tape is of a polished, savvy beyond his years type LT.
I say savvy without the negative connotation of “soft” or ‘finesse “. He exerts power in the run game, eats up bull-rushers, bullies speed D-ends, and knows how to pick up blitzes. I see every bit of the nasty in Matthews that a Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan would have, just without all the penalties.
So while yes, I was wrong about who the Falcons were targeting with the top pick, given some time to gain perspective on it I really couldn’t be happier about the outcome of the first round.
Matthews is the safest investment towards strengthening the backbone of the team. He could immediately contribute to fi