You know, I was in a reasonably good mood this morning. My knee was bothering me a little, sure, but in the face of a vast, uncaring universe, that's hardly a huge deal. Then I fired up the Twitter and saw this:
Expecting your rookie tackle to hit the ground running? Guess again: https://t.co/GCLnKhqrqc— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 14, 2014
Damnit, PFF. You've ruined my Monday.
A closer reading of the article provides reasons for both optimism and pessimism for our good friend Jake Matthews. On one hand, Matthews is considered a pro-ready tackle, one who may be better than the two tackles selected in the first two picks of the 2013 NFL Draft. That's good news because both of those guys struggled, and as PFF notes in their article, struggling is the norm for rookie tackles, but most rookie tackles aren't necessarily ready to start and play at a high level. Those who fare best are first rounder, according to PFF.
On the other hand, it's also unlikely that Matthews is Joe Thomas, who has one of the most absurd PFF scores I've ever seen over the life of his career, and a player who was playing at an All-Pro level during his rookie season.
So what can we reasonably expect from Matthews in year one? I think you'll likely see him play a little bit above average on balance, primarily because I think he's ready, he has the makeup necessary to be a quality tackle immediately and he'll be on the right side rather than the left, with Jon Asamoah as a capable player beside him. You have to expect struggles—again, Matthews probably isn't Thomas 2.0—but I think it's fair to expect a quality first year out of him.
What say you?