There were some moments early in Thursday’s first-round where it looked like the Falcons would select a player other than Jake Matthews, the odds-on favorite at No. 6 for the entire draft offseason, but that never changed the feelings Atlanta’s new offensive tackle had about the Falcons.
“I had a private workout and an official visit with them and I always had a really good feeling every time I left,” Matthews said Thursday evening after being selected. “I really like coach (Mike) Smith and coach (Mike) Tice, the offensive line coach. I feel like he and I really clicked and got along well. I’m excited to get in and start working. I’m looking forward to being a tackle there for quite a few years.”
Matthews solidifies an O-line charged with protecting quarterback Matt Ryan, a unit that allowed 44 sacks last season, a career high for the sixth-year QB. Matthews joins Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Joe Hawley and Jon Asamoah as potential starters when the season begins.
In the end, the Falcons got the guy they wanted to help protect the franchise quarterback and Matthews gets to go to the team he wanted to be with all along.
“I can honestly say Atlanta was the place I wanted to be,” he said. “It’s a great organization. I love everything they stand for, where they’re going. They’re a great team and I’m really excited to be a part of it and really help this team win.”