This is the first installment of the “I Like ___ More Than You” series. These are the players that would likely land on team LTL. First up, the all-time leading receiver in SEC history — Jordan Matthews.
Matthews finished his career at Vanderbilt with one of the best resumes in college football. Yet, with every underclassman that declared for the draft, his stock fell. It’s gotten to the point where Matthews has become one of the more underrated players in an extremely deep class.
Everyone knows about his production, which was outstanding, but his combine performance has gone a little bit under the radar. His size at 6-3, 212 is prototype. When you factor in Matthews’ arm length of 33 1/4 inches and hand size of 10 3/4 inches (largest of WRs at combine), his measurements move toward elite territory.
Which brings me to his most underrated asset — speed. Matthews shocked a lot of people by running a 4.46 at the combine. The big knock on Matthews all along has been his speed, but I’m not sure why. He’s not a burner, but he’s not slow. He could definitely work on his get-off. Has more build-up speed than first step burst and can take a false first step off the line. Long speed, however, is not an issue. Jordan Matthews, like his cousin Jerry Rice, never gets caught from behind. One of his biggest strengths throughout his career has been the ability to take a short pass to the house.
The best part about Jordan Matthews is that he isn’t a finished product despite being a polished prospect. Matthews is a true senior, which makes him the same age or younger than most of the redshirt junior class. And his biggest asset, also like his cousin, is a very strong work ethic. Matthews even asked for film on the corners he’d be facing at the Senior Bowl, which is unheard of. This is a human being driven to succeed. As is the case with most any athlete good enough to be considered with a first round pick, they can be as good as they want to be. Matthews wants it, so I’d want him on my team.
49ers perspective: The storyline for Matthews would be his bloodlines with Jerry Rice. It would almost be unfair for him to be drafted by San Francisco due to the Jerry comparisons. He would be a great fit, though. If Crabtree leaves via free agency after 2014, Matthews would be a perfect replacement as a tough chain-mover, with big strong hands, who can gain yards after the catch. I fully expect Jordan Matthews to be a long-term starter in the league. WCO would suit him well. Right now Matthews is rated as a 2nd/3rd rounder by most publications. He would be a steal there with 1st round value.