FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. The Atlanta Falcons bolstered their offensive line Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft by selecting former Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews.
Months of draft hype had the Falcons possibly trading up to grab pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney. When that didnt happen, and quarterback Blake Bortles went to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 and wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Buffalo Bills at No. 4, Matthews fell to the Falcons after the Oakland Raiders took outside linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 5.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career high 44 times last season. Improvement along the offensive line was of paramount importance in this draft. In Matthews, Atlanta got what is likely the most NFL-ready offensive lineman available.
A team captain for the Aggies, Matthews was selected as first team All-SEC in 2012 and 2013, and earned first team All-America recognition by the Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press and Sporting News.
Matthews was a member of the offensive line in 2012 that led the SEC in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense which also ranked third nationally in total offense and scoring offense.
In addition to his stellar career at Texas A&M, Matthews comes to Atlanta with NFL bloodlines. Clay Matthews Sr. was Jakes grandfather, he played four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers. Clays two sons also played in the NFL. Clay Jr. was a first-round pick in 1978 by the Cleveland Browns. His brother, Bruce, was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
Clay Jr. had a son (Clay III) who currently plays for the Green Bay Packers. Clay IIIs younger brother (Casey) plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both Clay and Casey are Jakes cousins.
Jakes older brother Kevin spent time playing in the NFL for both the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.
Atlanta made Jake the seventh Matthews to enter the NFL.