Casey Matthews   LB   Oregon

TALENT BOARD

 Round 1


 

STRENGTHS

Casey is an instinctive, head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackling machine.  He is very smart, has excellent leadership skills and makes the players around him better.  Casey has the athletic talent to play any one of the linebacker positions.  He has nice lateral agility and shows an excellent burst to the ball.  In pass coverage, he likes the play in front of him and although he may lack the true coverage skills of a coverage linebacker, he makes up for it with his football intelligence and taking correct angles to the play.  Casey has hidden athletic talents that this defense does not show.  He has an excellent burst to the ball and change of direction skills.  The few times this team decided to blitz, Casey's skills and athletic talent became very apparent.  As soon as Casey works out at the combine and plays in the Senior Bowl, I suspect that he will move up quickly on most everyone's draft boards. Casey is a complete linebacker and a coach on the field.  He can play in any style defense, inside or outside.  I call him Casey (The Maestro) Matthews because of the way he conducts and leads the defense on the field.  

 

CONCERNS

Casey is a little stiff in the hips and will impact more if he is used to attack the line of scrimmage than in coverage.  But if you use him in coverage he will do just fine because he is very smart. Some teams will downgrade Casey because he is not the perfect size-speed ratio.  All I can say is that those are the same teams that most likely draft in the top fifteen every year. 

   

BOTTOM LINE

I don't care about a player's blood lines. The fact that a kid has a brother or father or a cousin or a mother or an aunt or even a sister that has played in any sport means nothing to me when I go to profile a player.  I look at a player on the field and I profile that player.  His play on the field must stand on its own. There are lots of good players whose sons and daughters will never be professional athletes.  I am always amused when I see people use the expression that a player comes from good blood lines.  It means nothing.  Casey Matthews is a good linebacker because he is a good linebacker.  He is a good linebacker because he wants to be a good linebacker and works hard at it.  He has athletic talent, but there are more athletic linebackers in this draft than Casey.  Does Casey have an advantage over other players because of his family? All I can tell you is this...the ability to take what you learn in practice onto the field is not an inherited trait.  It is a learned discipline.  Lots of players have played as much football as Casey, have also had good coaching along with athletic ability and not made it in the NFL.  There are running backs with sons who play running back at the college level and have not made it in the NFL.  So to suggest that because Casey has family that has played in the NFL and that be the reason Casey can play in the NFL is ridiculous.  The strange thing about this "blood line" thing is that I have seen it be used for a reason to downgrade players also.  A lot of times it is used to suggest that a player has peaked and there is not much upside to that player because of his "blood lines" and family coaching. In both cases, I consider it a lazy way to profile a player.  Now that I have gotten that off my chest!  I saw Casey recently be used in a game to blitz a QB and that is when I realized that Casey has some hidden talents that this defense does not allow him to use.  He is very underrated at this point of the draft.  When it's all said and done, Casey will play for the team that drafts him the day after the draft.  He will be able to play in any style of defense and will become a leader quickly through his play on the field.  His coaches will not want this kid to come off the field because of his intelligence and ability to direct his teammates to make plays during a game.  His teammates will respect him because they know he has made them better and allowed them to take the credit.  Linebackers like Casey are worth their weight in gold and gold is selling very high right now.  He is a maestro because of his ability to conduct himself and others on the field.  He is a potential impact player because of his hidden athletic talents that this defense does not show.  Before long, I suspect others will think the same way about Casey's ability to impact like I do.  If not, I guess they will miss the boat. 

 The BS Detector 

  Drew Boylhart   Jan/11