Flowery Branch, GA – The Atlanta Falcons today selected Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews in the first round (6th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Matthews, 6-5, 309 pounds, played in 52 games with 46 straight starts at both right and left tackle for the Aggies. He was a consensus All-American and a unanimous All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection in 2013. Matthews moved from right to left tackle as a senior protecting the blindside of QB Johnny Manziel, as the Aggies led the SEC and ranked fourth in the nation in total offense (6,999 yards & 538.38 ypg) and pacing the league while placing seventh in passing offense (4,593 yards & 353.31 ypg).
The Missouri City, TX native is the fourth member of his family to be selected in the first round and the seventh to reach the NFL. Matthews’ NFL linage began with Clay Matthews Sr., who played four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950’s. His father, Bruce Matthews, was a 14-time Pro Bowl selection and Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews III is his cousin.
He recorded 22 touchdown-resulting blocks, including 16 for a rushing attack that reached the end zone 33 times last season. Matthews registered 15 down-field blocks, which led all SEC linemen, and led the team and ranked second in the conference with 116 knockdowns. He also helped the Aggies record at least 475 yards in total offense in all but two games. Matthews was the 2013 recipient of the Bobby Bowden Award, presented for high performance on the field, in class and in the community.
In 2012, Matthews earned first-team All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report and the Football Writers of America Association, as well as second-team accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, and third-team recognition from the Associated Press. He was named at first-team All-SEC selection by the league’s coaches as well as the AP. Anchored an Aggie offense that led the SEC in rushing (3,147 yards), passing (4,114), scoring (578 points) and total offense (7,261) while also ranking third nationally in total offense and scoring offense. He teamed up with Luke Joeckel to block for Manziel in a record-breaking season that earned the freshman signal caller the Heisman Trophy.
Matthews quickly became a cornerstone of the Aggie’s offensive line that allowed just nine sacks during his sophomore season in 2011. He delivered 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and 96 key blocks/knockdowns while helping the Aggies rank 24th in the nation, averaging 199.2 rushing yards per game. The Aggies high-powered offense set then-school records for total offense (490.2 ypg), passing (291.1 ypg), and scoring offense (39.08 ppg).
As a freshman in 2010, Matthews was named to ESPN.com’s All-Big 12 Conference Freshman team and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick. He started the final seven games of the season and posted 45 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks to help the Aggies average 441.85 yards per game in total offense.
Matthews attended Elkins (Missouri City, Tex.) High School where he garnered first-team All-District and All-Greater Houston honors. He was a university studies major in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.
Statements from the Falcons on the pick:
“We talked throughout this process about improving our team with tough, rugged football players and Jake Matthews epitomizes exactly what we were looking for. He is a solid finisher and has good pass protection skills. He is the type of player that we are always looking for here in Atlanta – guys who are willing to work and those who come in and embrace the team concept.”
– General Manager Thomas Dimitroff
“As a coach, you always want to work with guys who love football and Jake Matthews loves football. As we were doing our due diligence, we had a number of people tells us about Jake’s work ethic, his study habits, and his passion for the game. He played in 52 games at Texas A&M with 46 starts and was a captain as a senior. He fits the bill for the kind of player we want on our team.”
– Head Coach Mike Smith