Announcement FanSided.com is hiring paid news desk writers. Apply here! ×

Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown - Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M

Jake Matthews was arguably the better of the two tackles at Texas A&M even though he was playing at right tackle. While scouts do not know yet if Matthews can be as effective at left tackle as he was at right tackle, they will certainly find out this upcoming season, as Matthews will be the starter at left tackle all season, barring any unforeseen injury. Matthews comes from a long bloodline of great linemen, most notably, his father, Bruce Matthews, was a 14 time pro bowler, a member of the Hall of Fame and is considered one of the best linemen in NFL history, and is currently the offensive line coach for the Tennessee Titans.  Matthews has the talent to be the best run blocking offensive tackle in this year’s class, and he shows the nastiness and the edge that scouts look for in offensive tackles. Matthews has a very high football IQ, and he understands all the calls and schemes that he has learned from both the pro-style offense he played in for Mike Sherman and the spread offense ran by current coach Kevin Sumlin.  If Matthews has a solid season for the Aggies playing the left tackle position he could possibly be a top 10, if not top 5 pick.

Vitals & Build

Matthews is listed at 6’5 and 305 lbs. which is pretty good for an offensive linemen, especially considering how strong he seems to play while having the frame to continue adding strength. One could argue that to be elite Matthews should be an inch or two taller, but there have been tackles his size that have been successful in the NFL. There have been no major injury concerns for Matthews, which is always a good sign for an NFL prospect.

Athleticism

While playing right tackle for A&M in 2012, Matthews showed that he certainly had enough athleticism to at least play right tackle in the NFL, and in fact some scouts have suggested that a move to the left side will showcase just exactly how athletic Matthews is. Matthews usually does a good job of staying in his knee bend and this allows him to deliver an effective punch off the snap of the ball. He utilizes his arm length to keep pass rushers from getting away from his body, which is a major asset for him. Matthews is able to get in and out of his stances and into his sets quickly, and he also has good enough speed to get out in front of outside runs on the edge of the line. Matthews can be beat by speed rushers who straight rush him and does not have elite lateral quickness, but is quick enough to be a consistent blocker.

Run Blocking

Matthews is at his best when he is run blocking, as he is a dominant run blocker and can move almost any defender at will. Matthews uses his strength to stand defenders up and move them out of his way, and he has a natural explosion into contact. Matthew’s footwork allows him to stay balanced even with his aggressive style of blocking, and he does a great job of maintaining technique throughout his blocks. Matthews has that nasty mentality that scouts love to see in offensive linemen, where he is always trying to drive his defenders into the dirt. Matthews has some finesse to his game as well, and understands that he does not always have to be as physical as he likes to play. Matthews has one noticeable weakness in the running game, and it is that he can sometimes get beat to a spot on the second level by quicker defensive backs and linebackers.

Pass Blocking

Matthews showed the talent and film of an elite run blocker, and although he is not an elite pass blocker yet, he is still a good pass blocker for now and could reach that next level. Matthews is able to utilize his body length and long arms to keep defenders away from the pocket, and he does a nice job of sitting down in his bend in order to anchor and makes it difficult for anybody to beat him on a bull rush. Matthews is also able to beat speed rushers by delivering a heavy blow and slowing them down. Matthews is able to re-anchor and stop the rush even when he is beat upon initial contact, and he has a smooth slide to get rushers up field. Matthews is a very smart player and knows how to stop counter moves by opposing linemen, and he is able to recognize what kind of lineup a defense is in and adjust what he will do accordingly. The key to Matthew’s pass set is his balance, as when he is balanced he almost always is able to maintain his blocks. Matthews can tend to occasionally get himself over extended and get off balance, which can make him very ineffective as a pass blocker, and he does not have the elite lateral quickness to recover from getting off balance. In the game against Alabama, Matthews did a good job of blocking one of the best pass rushers in the nation in Adrian  Hubbard, and pretty much stonewalled him.

Technique

Matthews has good technique with a complete body of work, and does not have any noticeable weaknesses in that area. Matthews has excellent upper and lower body power, and while he has an aggressive mindset he stays under complete control of his technique. Matthews has elite hand placement and almost never puts his hands in the wrong place and uses his hands and feet in coordination to help him stop defenders.

Footwork

Matthews has good footwork, and he keeps his footwork clean and quick. He needs to work on staying consistent in his knee bend, but besides that has no major problems. Matthews has the ability to be very light on his feet and stay with most of his opposing defenders. Matthews has some of the best footwork in this year’s class of offensive linemen.

Schedule

Saturday, Aug. 31                    vs Rice
Saturday, Sept. 7                    vs Sam Houston State
Saturday, Sept. 14                    vs Alabama
Saturday, Sept. 21                    vs SMU
Saturday. Sept. 28                    at Arkansas
Saturday, Oct. 12                    at Ole Miss
Saturday, Oct. 19                    vs Auburn
Saturday, Oct. 26                    vs Vanderbilt
Saturday, Nov. 9                    vs Mississippi State
Saturday, Nov. 16                    vs New Mexico
Saturday, Nov. 23                    at LSU
Saturday, Nov. 30                    at Missouri

Notable Games

The game that stands out is Alabama because it could feature Matthews against Adrian Hubbard, a talented pass rusher for the Crimson Tide, but Ed Stinson is another talented player on that roster he might see in that game.  Matthews could also face Missouri’s Kony Ealy as well as Vanderbilt’s Walker May.  The one matchup everyone would like to see only happens if both Texas A&M and South Carolina make the SEC Title Game so that could Matthews could face off against Jadeveon Clowney.

NFL Comparison

The best NFL comparison for Jake Matthews is Max Starks in his prime. Both are elite run blockers, but are still good pass blockers as well. While Matthews is more athletic than Max Starks, Starks in his prime was fairly athletic. Both players play a very nasty game, and are able to push and shove most of their opponents around. As previously mentioned, Matthews handled Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard with ease, and was able to keep control of him for almost the entire game.

Draft Projection

After a dominant season in 2012 as a right tackle for Texas A&M, if Matthews can have the same success as a left tackle in 2013, look for him to be a top 10 pick. Even if Matthews struggles at left tackle, he will likely still be a first round pick as scouts know he can be a successful NFL right tackle. His name will also help his draft stock, as he is the son of Bruce Matthews, as previously mentioned, so some scouts will look past some flaws and assume that he will work on them due to him being the son of his father.

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft BCS College Football Football Jake Matthews NCAA NFL Scouting Report Texas A&M Aggies Football With The First Pick

comments powered by Disqus