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Jake Matthews: The best tackle in the draft?


PHOTOS: Jake Matthews at Texas A&M](** VIDEO: Matthews' highlights at Texas A&MQ&A: Aubrey Bloom on Matthews' careerAUDIO: Texans 24 Hour Radio Podcast

Not many athletes have the talent or the bloodlines of Texas A&M's Jake Matthews. At an official 6-5 ½, 308 pounds, the Missouri City native is arguably one of the top tackles among this year's draft class.

"I think the first tackle off the board here has got to be Jake Matthews, for me," Former offensive lineman and NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said. "I know he didn't test the best, but I think he's the most polished guy in this draft right now. I think his technique is going for him at the NFL level. He's been a three-year starter at A&M. I really like what I see."

Matthews' roots in the NFL run deep, starting with his grandfather Clay Matthews, Sr., offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49er in the 1950's. Jake's father Bruce Matthews had a successful playing career with the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans for 19 seasons and was inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007. Jake's older brother, Kevin, and younger brother, Mike, both, played on Texas A&M's offensive line.

"I'd like to think I wasn't grandfathered in," Matthews said, laughing. "I hope I earned my way here. It is special the family I came from and the relationships I have with my dad and cousins and brothers and all the people who have gone through this process. So that's really special and something (where) I can look to them to ask what it was like, what their experience with it was. So far it's been good."

Like his father, Jake moved around on the offensive line. The two-time all-SEC player transitioned from right tackle to left tackle, taking over for last year's second-overall draft pick, Luke Joeckel. Matthews protected quarterback Johnny Manziel's blind side during his senior season, paving the way for the Aggies offense to average 538.4 yards per game and rank fourth nationally. Matthews' versatility and polish may also be what separates him from the rest of the tackles in his draft class.

"That's where I think his value is at the top of this draft," Aubrey Bloom of the Bryan/College Station Eagle said in an interview with "He's a guy that really can play any offensive line potion. He's 6-5, right over 300 and might play a little heavier than that in the NFL. He can play any position on the line, like his dad did. In college, he probably couldn't because the interior linemen are a little bit smaller, but in the NFL he'll probably play any offensive line position. He has experience at guard, played a little bit there his first season. He has experience at center, was the deep snapper for A&M also which could help save a roster spot down the road. He can play multiple positions."

Matthews participated in position drills during Texas A&M's first Pro Day held March 5. Afterwards, he met with the St. Louis Rams, who hold the second-overall pick in the draft. He attributes his increased draft value to spending the extra year at A&M and showcasing his versatility.

"It's kind of like I've been training for this whole process my whole life," Matthews said. "I think we calculated that I'm the seventh Matthews to go into the NFL. It's really humbling, especially being part of this family and all the tradition with football that we have and just a great background. I'm truly blessed to be a part of it."


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