Pro Football Focus ranked the most improved players for the 2015 season, and there was good news for the Atlanta Falcons.
Offensive tackle Jake Matthews was listed as the third-most improved player, behind Raiders’ cornerback David Amerson and Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles.
Here was the report on Matthews:
Matthews finished with the lowest production grade out of any tackle last season. He struggled both in pass blocking and run blocking. This season, though, he’s moved up to 19th overall at the position, with a season grade of 79.5 (scale of 1–100). Matthews’ pass blocking efficiency jumped to a very respectable 95.7 this season. In 2014, his 51 total pressures allowed were the fourth-most of any tackle. He was able to cut that number down to 38 total pressures this season.
That’s definitely good news for a team that needed to hit a home run with that 2014 first round draft pick. Also, with the failures of offensive line draft picks Peter Konz and Lamar Holmes, the Falcons desperately needed to have a draft pick work out at that position.
Matthews struggled through injuries in his rookie season. Plus, with injuries on the line Matthews was forced to play left tackle much earlier than expected. To see him settle into a more productive season is very important for this Falcons’ team that must protect franchise quarterback Matt Ryan.
While the Falcons need help in the interior line of scrimmage this offseason, it’s good to know the tackle positions, with Matthews and Ryan Schraeder, are in decent shape. The improvement in the run game in 2015 was evident as well, as Devonta Freeman surpassed the 1000-yard mark in rushing yards.
Matthews is a cornerstone for this franchise. He must continue to improve moving forward and be an anchor on the offensive line of scrimmage for years to come.
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