The pick caps months of speculation and a sharp divide in opinion regarding whether the Falcons would select a pass rusher or tackle with their first choice in the draft. With Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney off the board and Matthews still available, the decision was essentially made for the team.
Matthews has been referred to as the safe pick in this tackle class, a term I abhor but understand. He's close to a finished product after serving as Johnny Manziel's blindside protector in college, flashing borderline elite pass protection ability and above average run blocking. All the intangibles are there for the 22-year-old, who is widely expected to become a quality left tackle in the pros.
We often talk about how "sexy" a given pick is, and there's no question that Matthews is not the kind of draft choice that appears to you in lingerie. For a team that has struggled mightily to find consistent tackle play for the better part of the last decade, though, he represents a choice that is difficult to argue against.
Where Matthews will play in his first season with the Falcons is anyone's guess at the moment, but the Falcons may give him a shot to unseat Sam Baker at left tackle or a first-year opportunity at right tackle. In either scenario, he seems to be a strong bet to improve the position he takes over, and with any luck he'll be a reliable Falcon lineman for a decade or more.
Vote in the poll below and let us know what you think of the Jake Matthews selection.
Top Remaining Needs:
- Pass Rusher
- Free Safety
- Inside Linebacker
- Running Back
- Wide Receiver
- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M