Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Thursday during his media session that this year’s offensive tackle class is strong and deep and he believes he came across a few first-round players during his time coaching the Senior Bowl earlier this year. One of those players, Jake Matthews, wasn’t at the Senior Bowl, but certainly believes he’s got what it takes to be the top tackle in this year’s draft.
“I’m just trying to come out here, put up good numbers and prove that I am capable of being the best lineman here,” Matthews said Thursday during media sessions at the 2014 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Many believe he’s already the best left tackle in the draft and he’s got the film to prove it, but Matthews said when he begins his workouts on Saturday, he hopes the numbers will match what scouts have seen on film. Matthews will be forever linked to spread-quarterback Johnny Manziel and Matthews was asked plenty about the potential top QB in this year’s draft, but the left tackle thinks the experience he gained playing in a variety of systems while in college will help his transition to the pros.
Working in Matthews’ favor is the conference he played in during college. As an SEC left tackle, Matthews said he routinely faced a bunch of good defensive players, but pointed to stand-out Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy as the best he faced.
“He was big and strong,” Matthews said. “He mixed up his pass moves really well. He was real aggressive coming off the ball in the run game. He was good with his hands. Guys that mix it up are always the toughest to go against and he did a good job with that.”