Jake Matthews' impact at Texas A&M was felt the moment he entered the starting lineup: Jake started the final 7 games of 2010 as a true freshman, playing on an offensive line that gave up just 14 sacks in those contests. The line had given up 23 sacks in the six games Matthews didn't start that year. From that point forward, Jake was an anchor on the right side of the Texas A&M offensive line. In 2011, Matthews' sophomore year, the offensive line gave up only 9 total sacks in 13 games. The sack numbers increased in 2012 and 2013 with Johnny Manziel improvising as QB, totaling 23 and 21 in each year, respectively. After Luke Joeckel declared for the NFL as a junior, Jake moved over to the left side in 2013 and became a Rotary Lombardi Award Semifinalist and a finalist for the Outland Trophy.
Check out Texas A&M's offensive progression from 2010 to 2013 with Jake Matthews on the offensive line (from Aggie Athletics).
THE SCOUTING REPORT
There is one word you hear often when talking about Jake Matthews: technician. That is almost a given since Jake is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Jake is one of the best pass protectors to come out in the NFL Draft in recent memory. It all starts with his base, as he has exceptional footwork for someone with his young experience. I've read numerous scouting reports that state his kick slide (initial steps in pass protection) is consistent from play to play. That is hard to replicate, but Jake does it effortlessly. He also has great bend; he doesn't stand up when blocking and is able to stay engaged with a pass rusher for an extended period of time.
The weaker part of Jake's game is run blocking. He is still very good in this area, but if you have to knock Jake for something, it would be for his overall strength. Matthews isn't a dominant run blocker compared to Auburn's Greg Robinson. He has gotten stronger over the course of his career at Texas A&M, but will need to continue to do so at the next level.
Finally, Jake is athletic. He may not have posted the best overall NFL Combine numbers for an offensive tackle, but he is quick and the most efficient with his movements out of all the offensive tackles in this draft. That goes back to being a true technician at the position. He would be just fine in the open field, searching for defenders to block on screens, pulls, etc.
If there is an NFL draft prospect this year that is an immediate starter from the moment he hears his name called on Thursday night, it is Jake Matthews. He is the ultimate "plug-and-play" guy for an NFL team. Give him the left or right tackle job, and just forget about him for the next 15 years or so. Your franchise will be set. He is a true cornerstone for an NFL offensive line.
The question for Jake is: how good can he be? I'm not sure he will be a Hall of Famer like his father. Few are. It's probably a bit premature to ask whether Jake is a once in a generation player. I do think he is a Pro Bowl-caliber player, and will be a tremendous addition to any NFL roster.
It is really hard for me not to have Jake as the #1 rated offensive lineman in this draft. Greg Robinson of Auburn gives him some true competition. The differences between Robinson and Matthews are that Robinson is a dominant run blocker already who has all the tools to develop into the pass blocker that Jake is. Jake is already the great pass blocker, but will probably never be the dominant run blocker that Robinson is. Robinson has "potential," and NFL folks just can't get enough of that p word. The p word is why you have seen Robinson ahead of Jake in all of the online mock drafts. Be cautious of the p word, though. It can get you in a lot of trouble and make you do silly, silly things.
WHERE HE ENDS UP
St. Louis Rams -- Everyone has Greg Robinson mocked to St. Louis at #2 overall, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion they go Robinson over Matthews. Who was Bruce Matthews' NFL coach? Jeff Fisher, now coach of the St. Louis Rams. Is the connection enough to trump talent evaluation? Possibly. Don't count out Jake replicating what Luke did a year ago by going #2 overall.
Cleveland Browns -- There is no telling what Cleveland might do at #4. This could be the future home of another Aggie, one Johnny Manziel. But, Jake Matthews may represent the greater value here for Cleveland and possibly the safer pick. They could grab the pass blocker at #4 and then draft the quarterback later with their second 1st round selection.
Oakland Raiders -- The Raiders need help just about everywhere, but they really need help along the offensive line after losing tackle Jared Veldheer in free agency and losing prized free agent Rodger Saffold to a (weird) failed physical. Oakland needs a young franchise player like Jake.
Atlanta Falcons -- Jake's NFL career may begin in the same place his college career ended. The Falcons desperately need offensive line help, and if they don't move up in the draft for a pass rusher, having Jake fall to them at 6 would be a blessing. I would be shocked if Jake somehow fell below Atlanta.
Buffalo Bills -- It would blow my mind if Jake is till available at #9 overall, but it could potentially happen. Jake Matthews at #9 would be one of the greatest value picks in the history of the NFL draft. I'll just leave it at that.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
.@theniko27 Probably Jake Matthews. Does everything well.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 22, 2014
A lot of draft twitter said it before today: It would be an upset if Greg Robinson is not the first T selected.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 22, 2014
Jake Matthews looks like he will be the first Aggie picked. Could go No. 2 overall to the Rams. Luke Joeckel was No. 2 last year.— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) May 6, 2014
A negative for Manziel? Jake Matthews allowed 6 sacks and 21 pressures according to STATS Ice. More than a few of those were NOT on Jake— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) April 23, 2014
Fav draft nugget. Jake Matthews family football tree includes: 753 games played over 54 seasons w 22 Pro Bowls #theforceisstrongwiththisone— trey wingo (@wingoz) May 5, 2014
Trying to research if Jake Matthews would be the 1st son of a NFL Hall of Famer to be picked in 1st round. Anybody know?— Brad Marquardt (@bradthejag) May 2, 2014
SB Nation -- Jake Matthews Scouting Report
SB Nation -- Jake Matthews and the importance of consistency
Cleveland.com -- Bruce Matthews talks about the NFL potential of his son
CBSSports.com -- Jake Matthews - Back to School (PS4)
Be sure to follow Jake Matthews on Twitter