Heading into the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, it was a two-horse race between Jake Matthews of Texas A&M and Auburn's Greg Robinson to be the first offensive tackle selected in this year's NFL draft.
Matthews certainly held up his end of the deal in workouts.
|Height||Weight||Arm||Bench||40 (U)*||40 (O)||10 Split (U)*||Vert.||Broad|
* Unofficial results
The 6'5" Matthews, who the NFL Network's Mike Mayock ranks as this year's top tackle, started off strong in Indy, showing up at 308 pounds and logging a respectable 24 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
However, it was when the offensive linemen hit the field Saturday for workouts where Matthews truly impressed.
Matthews was known more throughout his career at Texas A&M for his versatility, technique and football smarts than for pure athleticism, but Matthews acquitted himself quite well from an athletic standpoint at the combine.
Matthews' unofficial times in the 40-yard dash were either right at five seconds or just below, and as Rotoworld's Josh Norris relayed, Matthews' 10-yard splits were also solid:
Jake Matthews second "unofficial" forty: 4.91. 10 yd of 1.72— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 22, 2014
Norris also pointed out that, as expected, Matthews excelled in the positional drills:
Matt Millen "Jake Matthews was probably potty trained in the right stance."— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 22, 2014
Walter Football's Charlie Campbell also liked what he saw from Matthews in workouts:
Jake Matthews & Taylor Lewan showing explosion, quickness and athleticism. That's why they're in my top 12 picks. http://t.co/Pd1bOnbx0s— Charlie Campbell (@DraftCampbell) February 22, 2014
That doesn't mean it wasn't a very good day for all three players, according to Bleacher Report's Dan Hope:
Overall, it's been a fantastic day for the top 3 OTs (Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson and Taylor Lewan). Shouldn't praise one w/o the other two— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) February 22, 2014
In fact, even in light of Robinson's athletic explosion, some writers, including John McClain of The Houston Chronicle, are steadfastly sticking with Matthews as the top player at this position in this year's draft:
OT Greg Robinson is a great athlete and prospect, but OT Jake Matthews was constent and improved every year as a 4-year starter.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 22, 2014
A strong case can be made for the youngster. As Dane Brugler of CBS Sports put it, "Matthews is as steady as they come:"
Matthews isn't the longest, strongest or meanest, but he's a coordinated athlete with smooth body control and natural balance. A true technician, the game appears to come easy to him with his football smarts and scouts believe he can excel at any of the five offensive line spots in the NFL.
Brugler reports that headed into workouts, Matthews said, "I want to reiterate what I've put on film all year. I want to put up good numbers and show I'm the best tackle.”
Given the show Robinson put on, that last point may be more in debate than ever, although it's no fault of Matthews.
Because he accomplished everything he set out to do in Indianapolis.
And with Jake Matthews, the tape kind of speaks for itself.