When you watch the Texas A&M Aggies one of the first things you see is an amazing quarterback who can make anything happen with his arms and legs. Often overlooked, at least before this offseason, is the offensive line that gives him the ability to make those plays. One lineman in particular stands out: Jake Matthews. While Matthews will more than likely go top five us as fans still have no idea what could happen in between now and the draft.
When I worked for an NFL scouting staff, you would be surprised just how often any prospect can rise and fall day after day. The talking head analysts have you believe it is cut and dry but it is far from it. For all we know Jake Matthews could easily fall to the Titans at 11 and it would be the best thing to happen in Tennessee in years.
When I watch the tape of any lineman one of the first things I look at is his feet. Can he move his feet in a fluent motion that almost flows step by step with his defensive foe. The best offensive linemen in pass protection almost look like as if they are on a rail because their feet move in one perpetual motion and they can force the defender where they want to go, instead of the defender pushing the offensive lineman back into the quarterback. Jake Matthews' footwork is amazing. He can manipulate a defender into going wherever it is he wants him to go for a extremely long period of time.
Another factor to look for when scouting any offensive line prospect is how aggressive he is on his blocks and how much force and energy he is using to hold off his opponent. Too much aggression can lead to holding penalties or a defender speeding by you because you came too hard at him and he beat you with speed. In the case of Matthews he is the perfect mix of aggression and skill, he knows exactly how much aggression it will take to hold off a defender and rarely gets beat because of it.
The good thing about Jake Matthews is that there is no bad thing. I will never call a prospect "can't miss" because that type of prospect does not exist. I do not care what any draft analyst tells you, any player can bust no matter how good they are. Jake Matthews may be as close to a can't miss prospect as you can get though. His pass protection technique is flawless and his run blocking is superb, his pure strength could push back any defender and he is so talented at creating holes for his running back and in Texas A&M's case, the quarterback as well. NFL screen plays will be a perfect fit for him. He has the quickness and athleticism to run out and get a good block for his receiver.
If I held the keys to the number one overall pick it would be Jake Matthews. He will anchor any offense for the next 15 years and probably make the Pro Bowl multiple times. I know that it is pretty much just teasing you guys to flaunt this man's skill while in the back of your head you know that the chances of landing him are very low. I offer hope though in the fact that we truly have no idea what will happen in between now and the draft. The Titans may even trade up for him. Wherever Jake Matthews ends up I believe that he will become one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, maybe even the best.