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Jake Matthews led the NFL in snaps played in 2019

The durable left tackle is increasingly underrated.

Los Angeles Rams v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Jake Matthews is jockeying with Desmond Trufant for the crown of most widely reviled Falcons player who is actually good, and he appears to be gaining on the veteran cornerback.

The gap between what Matthews actually has done on the field in his career and his perception in the fanbase is pretty vast. While he certainly took his share of justified abuse for poor games this year, he finished the season with Pro Football Focus’s 9th-best tackle grade, was tied for 16th in the league in terms of penalties for tackles, and played more snaps than anyone else in the entire NFL.

Matthews would likely be the first to tell you that he didn’t enjoy his finest season as a pro—that was probably last year, when he was stellar even as the line was falling down around him—but playing more snaps than anyone else at a pretty high level is worth its weight in gold. Try to imagine this already sorry offensive line without Matthews and then try to imagine the stats Matt Schaub would’ve put up in relief of a mangled Matt Ryan.

We’ll hope for Matthews to have an even better year next year, but with very few sure things going on the line heading into 2020, it’s nice to know he’ll be one of them.