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Jake Matthews is headed to his first Pro Bowl

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It’s richly deserved for Atlanta’s rising star at left tackle.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Falcons now have three Pro Bowlers, as Jake Matthews was just announced as a replacement for Washington tackle Trent Williams. He joins teammates Alex Mack and Austin Hooper in Orlando, and it’s his first trip.

As you know from watching the 2018 season, Matthews is a deserving player, alternate status be damned. It was arguably the best year of his career and the best year anyone had along a pretty busted-up and shaky offensive line, and if Matt Ryan has any bones in his body that aren’t bruised, it’s because Matthews kept him from getting obliterated hundreds of times this year.

Matthews, who will turn 27 next month, is in his fifth season and is playing like a man who just got a lucrative contract extension to be the team’s anchor at the position. He may not have made this Pro Bowl outright, but he’s playing well enough to do so for years to come, and exposure tends to lead to great things for offensive linemen who can get voted in year after year off of one terrific season. The Falcons will need to heavily re-tool their offensive line in 2019, as they’ve already said aloud, but Matthews and Mack will be the welcome constants for this team as they move forward.