Smith, the only returning SEC player other than South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney to have recorded nine or more sacks a season ago, is a legitimate NFL prospect in his own right. He's quick off the snap and doesn't rely just on his athleticism to wreak havoc off the edge. He uses his natural leverage advantage to bull rush tackles and has good lateral agility to jab-step outside and beat leaning pass-blockers with a quick burst back inside. Virtually none of it worked against Matthews, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior prospect, however, as the 6-foot-5, 305-pound All-American lived up to this lofty ranking by holding Smith to just one assisted tackle in this contest. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
Matthews signed with the Aggies with great fanfare as his father is Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, who starred all along the offensive line for 19 seasons with the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans.
Jake proved early on that he was worthy of the hype, solidifying the Aggies' offensive line once he entered the starting lineup in week six of the 2010 season (Missouri) as the team battled injuries up front. Despite starting just seven games as a true freshman he was recognized by the media as an honorable mention all-conference performer and was acknowledged as such again this past season.
In much this same way, Matthews is a terrific run blocker. Though athletic enough to surprise defenders with an occasional chop block or slipping out to the second level to nail a linebacker, he's at his best simply driving defensive ends off the ball and creating lanes for A&M's running backs to slice through.
Matthews' lack of elite foot speed and balance may limit just how high he can go on draft day but if he proves capable of handling the jump in athleticism he's likely to face in the SEC, a top 40 grade is certainly within his grasp.