Led by Josue Matias, the FSU offensive line will lose five players to the NFL next year, with the left guard joining center/left tackle Cameron Erving and right guard Tre’ Jackson as projected early round draftees. Matias boasts 42 career starts for the Seminoles, but it was his work in the trenches this season that often bailed the offense out when they stumbled their way to an undefeated regular season.
Playing at a steady clip that has produced an 83.43% grade for blocking consistency in 2014, Matias cleared out rush lanes for ten of the team’s rushing touchdowns, in addition to making eight blocks in the second level that also resulted in scores by the Seminoles.
His draft stock may have taken a “hit,” as he had one of the worst performances in the agility tests for any offensive lineman at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (5.52 in the 40-yard dash; 5.12 20-yard shuttle; 17 ½-inch vertical jump; 8.19 three-cone drill; refused to perform in the bench press).
Matias is a big body-type with good arm length, large and strong hands, and a big bubble. He displays the functional initial quickness off the snap to gain advantage and good pop and explosion on contact (must sink his pads to be effective, though). He is a very good position blocker who uses his natural leverage to sustain blocks and while he might be a plodder, he shows the ability to get a good fit and drive the defender off the ball.
His leg drive gets him good success to work for position. He is better on the short pull to the front side than when working as a trap blocker off tackle. In the run game, he is a good technician who comes off the ball to position and play with good leverage and hand usage.
Matias generally has very good pre-snap awareness to diagnose where a play is coming from, but he had some issues with the quarterback cadence that led to five false start penalties last year, four coming on third-down plays. While he is usually a tenacious blocker, he did not seem to sustain for long last season, as too often, he would release his block to work on another defender.
That could have lack of sustain on his blocks could have been the result of the struggles that Cameron Erving was having with edge rushers last season, as Matias often had to help out. Coincidentally, once Erving moved to center for the final five games, the left guard recorded three of his finest performances on the 2014 schedule.
With his strength and anchor skills, Matias is rarely pushed around at the line of scrimmage. He keeps his shoulders square and generally stays on both feet. He gets into position quickly, despite just marginal timed speed and can move off the line of scrimmage without hesitation. When pulling wide, he does tend to move around too much instead of staying in his area, even though he is a good stalker working into the second level.
Matias has good initial quickness off the snap and can provide a significant jolt to the defender with his punch. Still, there were times last season where he would get too high in his pass protection, having to compensate by using his strong hands to latch on to the defender and ride him throughout the play. He plays with good balance and lateral agility to slide with the defender and remain square.
Where Matias can get himself in trouble with leverage is by playing too high. He has the lower strength to lock out and rarely takes a step back even vs. a powerful bull rush, but this could be an area of concern vs. NFL defensive linemen, especially when he fails to move his feet. He looks to help out his teammates, but you would prefer he does that when he’s not covered (came off his assignments too early at times during the first half of 2014).As a drive blocker, Matias can dominate when he uses his mass and upper-body strength. He can provide an explosive initial pop that often knocks the defender back. Still, he has to do a better job of latching on, as he'll knock his opponent back only to see him regroup and get back into the play.
The Seminole has shown that he could be a solid drive blocker when he plays with leverage and keeps his hands inside. He can physically remove the defender from the hole, but last season, he looked to eliminate more than one defender on the play and would have been better served if he finished his assignment before trying to find another target to hit.
Josue Matias NFL Scouting Combine measurables
6-5/309 (5.52 forty)
33 1/8-inch arm length
17.5-inch vertical jump
84-inch broad jump
8.19 3 cone drill
5.12 20 yard shuttlee
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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