Coming out of the SEC and flying under the radar is near impossible. But coming out of Vanderbilt? Oh, for sure.
There's one guy that was drafted into the NFL that will undoubtedly be a breakout performer beginning week one: Jordan Matthews. You hard-core fans might know of him or have seen him once, but he is arguably the greatest receiver to ever come out of the Southeastern Conference. Bold enough statement? Well, maybe, unless you have the facts to back it up.
J-Matt has the most receiving yards of any receiver in SEC history with 3,759 yards -- think about that. And then know that he owns it by 700 yards, the amount that would qualify as an above-average season for your typical receiver. Also, Matthews holds the conference record for receptions with 262, and who does he hold those records over? Well, A.J. Green, Jabar Gaffney, Dwayne Bowe, Alshon Jeffery, Terrance Edwards, and even Julio Jones. So, not bad, eh?
Matthews, who stands at about 6-foot-3, is a massive target. He has phenomenal hands, is intelligent in his route running, and understands how to go up and get the ball. That's why Philadelphia took him with their second pick in the draft and that projected success has already translated to the NFL.
This past week in camp, Matthews seemed to be vying to take a starting spot from Riley Cooper or Jeremy Maclin. There was even talk that he take the slot receiver spot from Brad Smith or even a tight end position from Brent Celek. He's that good; he's that much of a game changer.
So what does he do after the impressive week in practice? He goes out Friday night and records nine catches for 104 yards -- which is the most yards an Eagles receiver has had in the preseason since Greg Lewis in 2003.
This is the Jordan Matthews we've been waiting to see. Good couple of plays.— Tommy Lawlor (@lawlornfl) August 16, 2014
Analysts noticed him, fantasy owners added him to their queue, and Eagles fans have embraced him. If there's one receiver from the Southeastern Conference who will have a solid year in the NFL, it's the 2-star prospect out of Madison, Alabama.