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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Around The Draft In 60 Days

It’s coming up on 60 days to the draft.  I'd considered the idea of doing a brief writeup (and therefore, in this year's laziness, some learning) on a prospect for each of the 80 days before the draft.  Since we're closing on 60 days, now or never (it's 60 days from tonight, technically).

It should come with some level of commentary on how this player might fit with the team, but I'll also be careful to not completely work on only players at true need positions.  Dave Gettleman seems really serious about this best player thing, evidenced by picking a LB and RB at the back end of a draft that had only five picks. I'm also going to pretty much exclude players I think are going to be top 15 guys.

I'm going to start with Vandy's Jordan Matthews:

6'3, 210, Senior.

He's a somewhat big guy who needs to add some weight, since he's straight-line fast but not especially quick in short space.  He's already physical and somewhat hard to tackle, so he might be a good guy to turn into a possession guy.

He runs good routes, and he seems to read coverages well (it's hard to say how much he was told to find open zones, and he didn't have reliable QB play).  He studies tape, and seems to be the type of player who would really benefit from sabermetrics.  Matthews is a hard worker who looks to be a more finished product, spending four years in a very tough SEC and leaving as the conference's top receiver, again with no real QB presence.  With a solid body, long arms and big hands, Matthews has a wide catching radius that has worked well with inconsistent ball placement, and lets him go up for the jump ball.  He's a guy whose only real problems are a lack of elite speed and not knowing where the ceiling is on him.  He was very productive without a lot to work with, he's responded to coaching, and I think you know what you get with a guy like this.

Matthews is generally rated from 25 to 45, and I'd be more than happy with him in Carolina. While WRs coach Ricky Proehl seems to do good with anyone, I'd love to see what these two could do together with Matthews' intellect and tape-watching. He seems to be the sort that would be a good leader of a wayward passing game, and he fits the conservative route the team has gone with Cam Newton lately.

There's an obvious need for multiple receivers, and being the top Senior prospect adds experience (notably, Dave Gettleman only drafted Seniors last year, though that was through only five picks) and a known quality to the position.  That makes Matthews a very intriguing choice for 28, if he's there.
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