With the 94th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Jets Should Select…

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Inside Linebacker from Oregon State, Casey Matthews.

In reviewing many scouting reports on Matthews, the consensus is that he is just an average athlete with marginal quickness.  However, his football acumen is off the charts.  His is very aggressive and, by all accounts, is extremely hard working.  We’ve heard over and over from many different players and experts that, at the NFL level, football is 90% mental.  Yet time and time again, we see teams draft primarily on pure athleticism.  The NFL is littered with busts that wowed us at the Combine and late rounders that proved everyone wrong.  I’m a firm believer that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.  It’s very easy to measure a player’s physical attributes but that is only part of the picture.  A player’s “intangibles” are also of great import.  By definition, it’s impossible to quantify a player’s intangibles.  Consequently, predicting NFL success is not an exact science.  The best we can do is look deeper into intangibles and make our best judgment.

Consider this, according to NCAA statistics, only about 0.09% of high school senior football players will be drafted by the NFL.  With that in mind, it is remarkable to think of the odds of two people in the same family making the NFL.  However, as of the 2010 season, the Hall of Fame has 335 documented sets of brothers who’ve played professional football and 187 sets of fathers and sons.  In the first round of this year’s draft, 3 of the arguably 32 best players entering the NFL are either the son or brother of a player – that is about 9.4%!  Casey Matthews’ family blood lines are well documented (grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, brother).  While I’m not advocating for nepotism in the NFL, I think the fact that Matthew’s family has had such success should be taken into account.

There will of course be some natural comparisons made to his brother, Clay.  Casey was actually much more highly touted than than Clay as they came out of High School.  Clay was a walk-on at USC while Casey, despite being undersized, was a 3-star recruit with scholarships from numerous Pac-10 and ACC schools.  As a true freshman, Casey played in all 11 games.  He finished his senior year as Oregon States’ leading tackler and was the co-recipient of the Ducks’ Most Outstanding Player award.

While the Jets need at ILB has not gotten a lot of press as a major area of need, I think it is.  That said, in the unlikely event that players like Sam Acho (OLB from Texas) or Kendrick Ellis (NT from Hampton) slip and are still on the board when the Jets pick, the Jets should should fill those needs.  Two of my favorite current Jet players are Bart Scott and David Harris.  I think they are one of the best pairs of ILB’s in the league and don’t receive the respect they deserve.  However, when you look at the depth chart, we have very little behind them.  Bart Scott will be 31 (or older) by the opening kick-off of this season.  He faded toward the end of last season – over the last 5 games (including payoffs) he averaged just 2.6 tackles per game.  Scott is the heart of the Jets defense and I think the Jets need to help him out by creating a rotation that can keep him fresh.  I’m confident that Bart has some quality years left.  As we learned in Hard Knocks, he is Rex’s surrogate on the field and vitally important to our defense.  We need to make sure he stays on the field and the best way to do that is to keep him fresh.

Next up:  I’ll discuss my suggested selections for the remaining rounds – including a very unconventional idea for the 5th round pick.

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3 Comments to “With the 94th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Jets Should Select…”

  1. Please invent a time machine and place Lance Mehl and Greg Buttle inside.
    Then bring them back out when they are 25 and they will smash the crap out of the rest of the league…those guys were hitters.

    Matthews family is good stock indeed…did any of them ever play in a major market?

    • The following are where the Matthews have played:
      Brother – Clay III: Packers
      Father – Clay Jr: Browns & Falcons
      Uncle – Bruce: Oilers & Titans
      Grandfather – Clay Sr: 49ers
      Cousin – Kevin: Titans
      Also, there is another brother, Jake, who is a freshman OT at Texas A&M. He was a four star recruit out of High School.
      Too bad the Archie and Olivia didn’t have any daughters. It would be wild to see what a Manning/Mathews offspring would do in the NFL.

  2. As Cleveland Browns fan, the name Matthews will always have a place in my heart. #57 is to this day one of the best Browns defensive players we’ve ever had. For that reason, plus the success his brother has had, Casey is worth the risk. Good, comprehensive post!

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