MOBILE, Ala. – Unwilling to leave even the smallest details to chance, Jordan Matthews made an unusual request to those organizing the Senior Bowl earlier this week.
The Vanderbilt wide receiver wanted the film of all of the defensive backs participating in the four days of organized practices.
“You never would go into a regular game blind, so why would you go into an all-star game, with some of the best in the country, blind like that?” Matthews said. “You always want to make sure you compete and always prepare.”
Matthews, understandably, has been adamant about sticking to routines. This season, he set all-time SEC records with 262 catches for 3,759 yards, easily making him a first-team all-SEC selection when the season was over.
A starter since the end of his freshman season, Matthews played a large role in Vanderbilt’s renaissance under former coach James Franklin, who left last week after three seasons to coach Penn State. Now, as one of the top wide receivers eligible for the NFL draft in May, Matthews could be an important player for an offense hoping to rejuvenate its passing game.
“I keep the same focus,” Matthews said. “You’ve got to see the future through a straw and never worry about any of the other stuff. Focus on the next day and keep working. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
He could, in theory, be a good fit for the Washington Redskins, who need a tall, strong wide receiver to fit in beside Pierre Garçon in the passing game. The Redskins won’t make their first selection until the second pick of the second round, which is around where Matthews is slotted by draft experts at this point in the process.
The second-tallest wide receiver of the 14 who weighed in on Monday, Matthews measured in at 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds. His length is, predictably, an asset; during one play in team drills on Thursday, he reeled in a jump ball on a fade route in the back left corner of the end zone from Fresno State quarterback David Carr.
Matthews and Carr have spent a portion of the time granted to them following practices this week working on routes and timing. To some, their extra practice could come off as sucking up to the hundreds of scouts, coaches and other team representatives in attendance, especially as other players are mingling with agents and granting interviews to reporters.
As has been the case, Matthews let the results speak for themselves.
“We were able to hit a couple today,” I told him, ‘Man, that’s just how it happens.’ We come out here, we work extra each day and stuff just happens easy. You know, you’ve just got to trust your process and keep working.”