Posted: 11:30 am Thursday, May 8th, 2014

UPDATE: Falcons take Jake Matthews 

By Jeff Schultz

The Falcons and Matt Ryan hope Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews becomes a fixture on the offensive line.

The Falcons and Matt Ryan hope Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews becomes a fixture on the offensive line.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 44 times last season and hit another 42 times but somehow finished the regular season without having a psychotic break.

Maybe Jake Matthews will help.

The Falcons took Matthews, the 6-foot-5, 308-pound Texas A&M tackle, with the sixth overall pick. He is the son of Hall of Fame guard Bruce Matthews and one of seven members of the Matthews family to play in the NFL. Two others: Former Cleveland Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. and Green Bay pass rusher Clay Matthews III.

The Falcons went into the first round desperate to improve their offensive line or the pass rush. But when South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney went first overall to the Houston Texans and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack went fifth to the Oakland Raiders, it was clear the Falcons would go for a tackle.

The only question was whether they would pick Matthews or Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. But Matthews is considered the most NFL-ready of the tackles and Lewan has some red flags in the character department.

The top six picks were Clowney, Auburn tackle Greg Robinson (St. Louis), Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles (surprisingly to Jacksonville), Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Buffalo, which traded with Cleveland), Mack (Buffalo) and Matthews (Falcons).

I’ll have a full column on the Falcons and Matthews later on MyAJC.com.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the full column.

*****

EARLIER BLOG:

It’s draft morning. Let the guessing … continue.

Like most, I’m in mock-draft burnout. The buildup to the draft was overkill even before the NFL pushed it back two weeks. Consequently, we’ve had to sift through more disinformation campaigns than ever, most of which I’ve avoided passing along.

But here’s one potential nugget I feel compelled to pass along:

I was told earlier in the week that the Falcons (currently sixth overall) and St. Louis (second overall) have a contingency trade in place should Houston pass on Jadeveon Clowney and take Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack instead. But the scenario was met with a soft denial by somebody who should know, which assumes the somebody-who-should-know wasn’t lying to me.

This is why I generally don’t report draft rumors, because even if somebody tells you something, there’s usually an agenda attached to it.

That said, a Falcons-Rams trade makes sense for a few reasons. As much as the Falcons are enamored of Clowney, they’re not going to give a ton of draft picks to move up five spots. I don’t believe Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff would hesitate at dealing next year’s first-round pick but gutting this year’s draft is another story. Should Clowney fall to two, a deal with the Rams wouldn’t be nearly as expensive. Also, Dimitroff and Rams general manager Les Snead are good friends (Snead used to work for the Falcons).

I can also could see a scenario where the Falcons would trade up to No. 2 or 3 to draft Mack or Auburn tackle Greg Robinson.

The Falcons would love to trade up with Houston for the first pick, but the Texans’ demands have been too steep to this point.

I’ve written before that the Falcons can’t go wrong whether they draft a pass rusher (Clowney, Mack) or a tackle (Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan). But Clowney is a special player and it’s more difficult to get an elite pass rusher who can disrupt an opponent’s game plan.

From back in January: Here’s a blog on Clowney.

And here’s a full column.

Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith recognized the needs on both lines going into free agency the team signed guard Jon Asamoah and defensive tackles Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson. It was a nice start but more work is necessary. Here’s a column from March on that subject

Dimitroff has drafted 17 offensive and defensive linemen since 2008. None has made the Pro Bowl. He needs a star with the first pick. Here’s a link to Sunday’s column on the team’s draft misses up front.

I’m not going list every mock draft out there. You’re free to Google. But here’s a peek at a few:

• NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has the first six picks as Clowney (Houston), Robinson (St. Louis), Mack (Jacksonville), Matthews (Cleveland), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Oakland) and Lewan (Falcons). One amusing prediction by Mayock has Dallas taking quarterback Johnny Manziel at 16th because, “I don’t think Jerry can help himself.”

A word about the tackles: Robinson is believed to have the greatest upside. Matthews and Lewan might be more NFL ready.

Many like Lewan’s talent and toughness. But there are red flags regarding his character. He may be charged May 19 in Ann Arbor with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery stemming from an early morning fight with Ohio State fans in December (after the Michigan-Ohio State game). Lewan denies committing any crime, saying he was trying to break up the fight. He also has denied any wrongdoing since his name surfaced in an investigation of an alleged 2009 sexual assault involving former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons. There have been allegations Lewan tried to intimidate the alleged victim into not filing charges, which he denies.

National Football Post has the first six picks as Robinson (Houston), Clowney (St. Louis), Watkins (Jacksonville), Matthews (Cleveland), Mack (Oakland) and Lewan (Falcons).

ESPN talking heads Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have Clowney-Robinson-Watkins as the first three picks. But Kiper has the Falcons drafting Lewan and McShay has them getting Matthews.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King says in his latest blog that he expects the Falcons to stay at No. 6 and draft a tackle. But in his final two days ago, he had the top three picks as Mack-Robinson-Watkins and the Falcons trading up with Cleveland at No. 4 to take Clowney. (I doubt this scenario because I don’t think Clowney is still on the board after the second pick.)

Finally, I believe S.I.’s Don Banks is dead on with this analysis on Houston’s difficult situation at the top. There are elements in it that I alluded to in a blog two weeks ago, which you can find here.

From Banks:

For a team that owns this draft … it doesn’t seem like the Texans are loving life right now. Houston wants to trade out of the No. 1 slot, but the league sources I’ve talked to say it’s probably not happening. That means it’s either South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney or Buffalo’s Khalil Mack from this vantage point. … Barring a deal down, getting to a consensus in Houston is what the final hours before the picking starts will be all about. My money is on Mack at the moment, with no trade happening. That said, if the Texans are willing to discount their top draft slot to get whatever they can squeeze out of the pick, perhaps they’ll coax No. 6 Atlanta into moving up for Clowney at a relatively bargain-basement price. The problem with that scenario is the Falcons might be higher on Mack than they are on Clowney, and Mack is probably the target if Houston moves down in the top 10. In any case, there’s obviously no guarantee Mack would still be there at No. 6 for the Texans if they swung a deal with Atlanta, which is why the idea of Houston selecting Clowney and then dealing him to the Falcons at No. 6 if Mack is still on the board is not all that implausible.

OK, that’s all for now. I’ll bring you any worthy updates today and tonight until the draft begins at 8 p.m.

Sound off time . . .

Jukebox: Recent blogs and columns on demand
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– MyAJC: Falcons can’t hide from draft mistakes on both lines
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– MyAJC: Hawks let clincher slip away, now need a miracle
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– Blog: Sterling banned but that should’ve happened long ago
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465 comments
JSSN
JSSN

Stupid college football pissing contests have got to go!

POAD2014
POAD2014

Who Left the DWAGS Out...Who Who?

The NFL DRAFT.................

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Get some new material.

THEBuckeyes1
THEBuckeyes1

That was SO AWESOME when you mentioned Deliverance being filmed in GA!  I bet that hurt!

THEBuckeyes1
THEBuckeyes1

Tell em THEBuckeye!  These people need to know we have the best and cleanest program in college football history!  Can't wait to see you tonight!

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

@DawginLex Did you see this? Quite a contrast with your boy Donnan, isn't it?


Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel named president of Youngstown State University

DawginLex
DawginLex

Nice to see the Steelers saw the potential in Ryan Shazier and drafted him despite the poor coaching he received In Columbus

Flacons_go_2-14
Flacons_go_2-14

Well the Flacons blue it by not pix Johnny Fottball. Cuz of that I will no long post here ever agian. I am going to be a Celeveand Brown fan and be prat of the dog pund!


WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!

Farcas
Farcas

Next pick should be, hope it is Ealy from Mizzou!

slydawg
slydawg

Overall, the way this draft played out, I wished the Falcons would have traded down and went safety. However, I will absolutely not complain about picking up a potential Hall of Famer. He can play 3 positions and it will be interesting to see which one of these bums gets the boot first.... Peace!!!!!

JSSN
JSSN

Got to call it a night, I have 4AM call time. Enjoy (or lament) Day 2!

LessIsMore
LessIsMore

Attatochou > Demarcus Lawrence > Van Noy

slydawg
slydawg

Bridegwater to Patterson? My Oh My.... If it works out

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@slydawg  

Most of the time when they say that an OL draftee can play 3 positions, that usually means that he is not enough of a pure athlete to be an elite LT.

We got burned by drafting Baker that has RT ability but is forced to play LT and now we have a guy that "can play 3 positions" but isn't guaranteed to be a dominant LT.

Typical TD drafting.

Lewan can be a dominant LT and he has the same issues as Shembo, so that shouldn't have been a reason to pass on him.

JSSN
JSSN

@Mora-less-Petrino  

The Redskins are in the catbird's seat! Man, Dimitroff is sweating bullets! The reaches are on the board now!

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg  

And they are sitting there with the chance for someone like Tre Mason sitting out there (at pick 72)  to be tutored by the greatest worker in the last 15 years in the NFL!

WDE
WDE

@Delusionaldog @DawginLex Donnan was a crook AFTER he was a coach...The Sweater Vest was such a crook ...WHILE he was a coach he was not only fired but basically banned from college football for 5 years.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Delusionaldog @DawginLex Your defense sucks


Stop making excuse for lousy coaching


Jerk Huh?


Touched a nerve


You are a pu$$y. You can dish it out but can't take it

slydawg
slydawg

@PaulinNH @slydawg  How hard would that be? Bridgewater has been a top rated QB his entire football career, albeit brief. The arm and the accuracy alone is leaps and bounds better. For Teddy, it will be all about what's between his ears.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@Delusionaldog @DawginLex And it was a fictionalization based on stereotypes that are 99.99% wrong.  Got any other stupid analogies to toss out?


Donnan was at Marshall before he came to Georgia.  Just so you can poke fun at everybody associated here is a list of all his coaching jobs.


1969–1971  NC ST Asst

1972–1973  FSU asst
1974–1977 
UNC asst

1978–1980  Kansas St asst
1981–1984  Mizzou asst
1985–1989 
Oklahoma OC 

1990–1995  Marshall HC
1996–2000  Georgia HC


He is from way more places than just Georgia.  We fired him. His most recent stop was as an analyst for ESPN.  SO if you are going to say he is from anywhere then it should be ESPN.


Of course we know you can't help but take a shot because he once coached at Georgia 14 years ago.  That is the nature of your sickness

Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

@DawginLex  The $ signs are really cute :) Thanks for sharing. 


Your entire team sucks.


Your ex-coach is a DGD.


The D must stand for Delusional


The G must stand for Greed


The D must stand for Deceitful.


JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg

Nah, Pioli and Dimitroff have to earn that coin now!

slydawg
slydawg

@JSSN @slydawg  Throw in some Alex Gibbs and Shanahan is a complete fraud

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg

He can thank Bill Walsh, he's just using his formula!

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg

All Robert Griffin proved is once and for all that he could not coach!

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg

I truly hate Jay Cutler, but I've got to give him his due. He survived Shanahan and got Lovie run. That is talent!

JSSN
JSSN

@slydawg @PaulinNH

Don't worry, we've writing that kid's demise since he was announced! Not out of malice, but Locker and Ponder were combine wonders!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@JSSN

Glad you got the joke.  slydawg mustn't be used to my sense of humor

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

I thought Tedy got hosed a little hard for his pro day.

I'll take the tape over a tossing session.