Jake Matthews didn’t make a great first impression on Falcons fans with an injury-marred, shaky rookie season, and that plus the occasional blowup game here and there has ensured that he’ll never earn love from some quarters of the fanbase. Outside of that group, though, recognition for the veteran tackle is growing.
The latest accolade comes from Pro Football Focus, which ranked Matthews 96th on their top 101 players of 2020. That’s not the most spectacular position, but it will probably put Matthews around 8-10th in the NFL at his position on this particular list, which feels right for his 2019 performance. Here’s the writeup at Pro Football focus, which notes that both his overall grade and his perception were likely impacted by an awful start to the year.
The Falcons’ season was largely disappointing, but Jake Matthews remained consistently strong at left tackle after an ugly start to the year. His opening three games were the worst three of his season — and they featured two overall PFF grades in the 40.0s — but after that, he was the No. 3 ranked tackle in the league. On the season, he gave up 28 total pressures, almost exactly matching his total from a season ago, along with an almost identical overall grade.
We’re still waiting for Matthews to crack the top 3-5 tackles in the league for an entire season, but he’s edging closer to that. We’ll hope he and the entire Falcons team can get off to a much faster start in 2020.
I’d fully expect Julio Jones and Grady Jarrett to be somewhere in the top 50, which has yet to be unveiled. Stay tuned, and congratulations to Matthews!