Being the number 6 pick comes with lofty expectations. Jake Matthews found this out a couple of years ago when the Falcons took him in the 2014 draft. Originally slated to start at right tackle, Matthews was thrust into the starting left tackle position when Sam Baker went down with injury in the preseason. Fans were hopeful, as Matthews has a high pedigree and was very technically sound in college.
Then the ankle injury happened in the first game against the Saints, and Matthews struggled for the remainder of his rookie year.
However, in 2015, Matthews - finally healthy - bounced back in a big way and had a very strong sophomore season. Connor Orr of NFL.com believes Matthews is ready to make another leap in 2016 - potentially all the way to the Pro Bowl.
Later on in the season, Matthews shined during some of his biggest games: against Jadeveon Clowney in a win over the Texans and against Jared Allen in a win over the Panthers.
Orr goes on to note how well Matthews performed in the running game and his exceptional hand placement and foot speed. Matthews is still young at just 24 years old, but is already showing signs of being a seasoned pro.
It’s high praise for the third year tackle, but it’s not unexpected. Jake was widely thought to be one of the most technically sound tackles to come out in recent years, even if he’s not the most powerful tackle in the league.
What are your expectations for Jake in 2016?