*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are less typically physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much. 


The smart money would say to take Mike Evans as the top "Big-WR" in this draft. He's 6'4"+ and 230+ pounds. He is a physical monster and has tremendous hands. He is the atypical right call for this draft (or any) for a "Big-WR." There is only one problem. No matter how good Mike Evans is perceived to be...Jordan Matthews is a better WR. Matthews is the best "Big-WR" in the 2014 NFL Draft...and thus the best WR in the draft. That's a bold statement to make on a guy, who is not anyone's top-5 WR prospects for this draft (right now), and barely in most national top-10 listings.

Jordan Matthews is the WR, who I teased a few weeks ago as the best in class. He is possibly the thinner-framed, faster Larry Fitzgerald. He is the best WR we see in the 2014 NFL Draft at this moment.

I was first introduced to Matthews at the Senior Bowl. I went to Mobile, AL with no preconceived notions of any WR prospect. I don't watch college football until after the season is over, and only watch tape on specific players for scouting. I had not researched any WR prospect by the time I hit the Senior Bowl. One of the first things I noticed about Matthews was as others milled around pre-practice, Matthews was usually with the NFL coaches...engaged, asking questions, and working on something. He just carried himself differently than any other WR that I witnessed at the Senior Bowl...which doesn't mean he can play WR in the NFL, but it was my first glimpse...and it was positive. Once I watched him practice, I knew something potentially special was occurring. 

Matthews has sensational hands. First, and foremost, he has huge 10.5" mitts for hands...and he uses them well. Any Matthews highlight reel is complete with a few one-handed catches. I'm not sure I ever saw him drop a pass in any tape that I watched of him. He didn't get to 112 catches in the SEC by chance...or style of offense (more on that in a moment). Back-to-back 90+ catch seasons, as well as consecutive 1,300+ yard seasons...at Vanderbilt. I've not seen all the WR prospect's tape yet, but of all the top WRs that I have researched, Matthews has the best pure hands for catching the ball of any WR in this class.

Not only is Matthews a great catcher of the ball, he is a student of the game; a high IQ player. His routes are great. His movements are efficient. He is the quintessential very good, possibly great-elite NFL WR. I have almost no doubt about it. The only thing that gives me any pause is that he is a touch slender at 6'3.1" and 212-pounds. I also assume that he will bulk up another 5 or so pounds soon. He is not too thin or injury prone, because he has great core strength as proven by throwing down 21 reps on the bench press at the NFL Combine; good for 2nd best among the 2014 WRs...and the same amount as Jadeveon Clowney. Matthews is sturdy/wiry WR...a little like A.J. Green (6'3.6", 211-pounds) only a touch thicker and stronger than Green it would appear.

Matthews is a quality character through and through. He is Vanderbilt-educated, with quality parents and family life. He is what you want in your locker room and representing your franchise in the community. As a side note, Matthews has a distant relation to Jerry Rice, which is a sad lead punch for draft commentators on Matthews...it almost diminishes him to a degree with the cute side note. Matthews should be lauded more for his play and results; not a distant relation to greatness.


Jordan Matthews, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:

The more I consider this factoid, the more amazed I am...amazed at just how good Jordan Matthews was in the SEC playing with a garbage offense. Especially, if you compare Matthews to Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins. Evans had the benefit of working with a QB who may be the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Watkins worked with one of the better, faster-paced offenses in college...and with a nice college QB. Whereas Matthews got to work with three QBs who combined for 15 TDs/16 INTs though the air in 2013.

Matthews-Evans-Watkins in-conference performance comparison in 2013:

9.5 rec., 113.4 yards, 0.25 TDs per game = Jordan Matthews in the SEC

5.8 rec., 122.5 yards, 1.13 TDs per game = Mike Evans in the SEC

7.8 rec., 117.5 yards, 1.00 TDs per game = Sammy Watkins in the ACC

Obviously, Matthews has performance numbers that equal or blow away the others until you get to the TDs per game. Remember, Matthews was stuck with junk at QB. For the entire 2013 season, when you look at the proportion of their QBs TD passes caught...you may be more impressed with Matthews. The percentage of their QBs TD passes caught this past season:

46.7% = Matthews, Vandy

30.7% = Watkins, Clemson

30.0% = Evans, Texas A&M


Evans and Matthews had two opponents in common in 2013: Missouri and Ole Miss. Their per game comparisons versus those two opponents:

8.5 rec., 150.5 yards, 1.00 TDs per game = Matthews

4.0 rec., 27.0 yards, 0.00 TDs per game = Evans


Our computer models feel it is indisputable that Matthews is the better pure WR over Evans (or anyone else in this class). My eyeballs tell me the same. The hesitation everyone seems to have with Matthews is physically, but he tested fine at the NFL Combine.

  • He ran a solid 4.46 40-time. For his size, and in discussing the top WRs that 40-time is slightly above-average
  • His bench press was 2nd-best in the class
  • His hands measured the biggest in the class
  • His agility was solid, to slightly above-average
  • His vertical was average

There is an anti-Matthews bias that exists for some reason. Before Matthews ran his first 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the main analyst prattled on how quality a WR Matthews was, but not a guy who is going to light it up with his foot speed. He was then shocked by Matthews' 4.4+ 40-time that he posted (ended up 4.46 officially) moments later. Right there, people should have started drawing a 1+1=great scenario. Matthews' sensational hands and football IQ + NFL level speed/agility = future good-great. Matthews drew some attention by day's end at the Combine, but more a 'pat on the head' while analysts rushed to praise Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins some more. Nothing against those guys; it's just that Matthews belongs in the discussion with them, and he never is.

The Historical WR Prospects to Whom Jordan Matthews Most Compares Within Our System:

If I could merge Larry Fitzgerald and A.J. Green, their offspring would be Jordan Matthews. They all have elite hands. They do not possess elite speed, but somehow they are football savvy-fast on their feet and can catch anything even with defenders draped all over them. Matthews is as fast, stronger than, and similar in size to A.J. Green...yet Green goes highly in the draft, and Matthews is discussed as a 2nd or 3rd-rounder. It's not as if Matthews didn't have as impressive, or even more impressive output in the same exact conference...without the luxury of working with a Matt Stafford or Aaron Murray. It's NFL Draft nonsense...and typical.


WR Score

Draft Yr







Power Strngth Metric

Speed Agility Metric

Hands' Metric






































South Carolina






















Kansas St


















*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Big-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Big-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Big-WR.

All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced. Mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, rated historically in our database.

“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/to create separation.

“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and overall this projects the combination of performance and physical data for the next level.

2014 NFL Draft Outlook:

Jordan Matthews is tracking as a 2nd-round pick for the most part. I assume that's where he will go, although I'll bet earlier 2nd-round rather than where most see him as late 2nd-round. A move to the late 1st-round would not shock me, per se, but the NFL typically sticks to the mainstream script. The die has been cast on Matthews...the consensus doesn't find him as exciting as Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, among others. All I know is, much like when we called Alshon Jeffery the best WR of his class before he went after several other WRs in the 2012 NFL Draft, Matthews is going to be a steal and a star.

If I were an NFL GM, I'd probably be looking at Matthews as a top-10 overall draft pick talent, but knowing I wouldn't have to move up that high to make that pick. I would read the tea leaves until May, and find out where I needed to move to in order to land Matthews. My guess would be late 1st-round...and he'll be a steal.

A savvy NFL team could fall in love with Matthews and pull the trigger between picks #25-30. This has Denver, New Orleans or San Diego all over it...and a long shot that it will be San Francisco or New England.

NFL Outlook:   

Matthews will thrive in the NFL no matter what team he is placed with, but it would help if he lands in an up-tempo offense with a quality QB...something he has not seen in college. People will look back at this draft and wonder why Matthews wasn't the first WR taken...much like 2012 with Alshon Jeffery.