2014 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews

Jordan Matthews is a projected first-round pick and one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews is an impressive senior wide receiver prospect coming out of the SEC. He has great size at 6’3″ and 205 pounds. He is also coming off a great junior season for the Commodores, amassing 94 receptions for 1,323 yards while hauling in eight touchdowns. Matthews was first in the conference in receptions and second in yards. He was a first team all-SEC selection by the coaches.

His production was very consistent week in and week out, not just feasting on his non-conference opponents. This is evident in his game log with big games against South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri and Tennessee.

Opponent Catches Yards
South Carolina 8 147
Northwestern 6 75
Presbyterian 4 54
Georgia 8 119
Missouri 9 91
Florida 8 131
Auburn 3 46
Massachusetts 10 112
Kentucky 5 75
Ole Miss 9 153
Tennessee 7 115
Wake Forest 10 144
North Carolina St. 7 61

 

Why You Should Watch Jordan Matthews in 2013

Matthews knows how to get open.  He can separate from defenders and does a great job finding zones and sitting in them. He does a great job holding defenders in place with hesitation moves. This freezes defenders and allows Matthews to run away from them, making for easy reads for his quarterback.

Matthews comes out of his stance very smooth, low and quick. He has great footwork off the line of scrimmage. He can accelerate quickly to top speed, which makes him difficult to cover and allows him to get yards after the catch.  I have no concerns with his ability to beat press.

He has good hands and can track the ball and snatch it out of the air. He competes well for the football and does a great job of continuing to work to get open on plays when the quarterback has to leave the pocket. He has a big frame and a large catching radius.

Matthews can effectively work all areas of the field. He displays the ability to make plays on short routes including screens. He can also work the intermediate area inside and outside the numbers, or get over top of the defense and make plays down the field. He will make tough, spectacular catches from time to time as well.

He gives defensive backs fits on deep balls and generates a lot of pass interference calls. Matthews does a great job of putting his hands out just before the ball arrives and never tipping the ball’s location to his defender.

Matthews is a good run-after-the-catch receiver. He displays the ability to catch the ball and quickly turn up field for extra yards. He is very quick and it doesn’t take long for him to get to top speed.

What He Needs to Prove in 2013

Matthews is a long strider. This can make it difficult to slow down and get in and out of his breaks. His agility can certainly improve.

He is not overly creative after the catch and is not much of a tackle breaker. His yards after catch all come from his speed and quickness.

For a player of his size, I’d like to see him be a bit more aggressive attacking the football in one-on-one situations. If he would not solely rely on size but utilize his leaping ability better, he would be much more dominant.

Matthews needs to become better at becoming a defensive back on bad throws to help eliminate interceptions.

Projecting Matthews’ Draft Stock

Matthews can play in any system and lineup outside or in the slot. He has the ideal combination of size, athleticism, and production.

He loses his quarterback, Jordan Rodgers, in 2013 so it will be interesting to see how that impacts his production. He projects as a very solid No. 2 wide receiver with strong upside to become a No. 1. There is so much to like about Matthews, who looks worthy of a mid-to-late first-round selection at this point. 

Tags: Jordan Matthews, Prospect to Watch, Vanderbilt, Wide Receivers

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