The start of April brings us closer to the next big offseason event for the NFL: the draft. From May 8th to May 10th, 256 young men will be drafted into the NFL. A few of these players will come from our very own Vanderbilt Commodore Football Team. After a stellar 4-year career at Vanderbilt, Jordan Matthews has solidified himself as the first Commodore to be drafted in this year's NFL Draft. In almost any other year, Matthews would find himself a sure first round pick, as he finished off his senior year with 112 receptions for 1477 yards and 7 touchdowns. Unfortunately this year's draft is incredibly deep at the wide receiver position, with players such as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Brandin Cooks, and Odell Beckham Jr. all projected to be drafted before Matthews.
While he may not hear his name called on Day One, Matthews is almost sure to be drafted towards the first half of Day Two, projecting to be picked somewhere in the second round. Which team will be the lucky one to select Vanderbilt's stud receiver? Here are a few possible landing spots for Jordan Matthews:
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have been linked to Clemson's WR Sammy Watkins lately. However, if they decide to go in a different direction with the second overall pick, it would come as no surprise if they select Matthews with the 37th overall pick. Matthews would join last year's first round pick Tavon Austin, newly-signed Kenny Britt, and Chris Givens in what would all of a sudden be a solid receiving corps for the Rams. With QB Sam Bradford coming off of serious knee injury, the Rams need all of the offensive help they can get, and adding Matthews would give them a huge boost.
It seems like every year, the Oakland Raiders are looking at wide receiver help in the draft. Well, this year is no different. With the Raiders likely to select a QB with the fifth overall pick (most likely either Derek Carr or Johnny Manziel), the team will want to give their rookie quarterback as much help as possible. They signed James Jones this offseason to join Denarious Moore, but whether Carr is the starting quarterback in Week One or newly-acquired Matt Schaub, the Raiders need additional help at the wide receiver position. Matthews would give the Raiders' QB a tall receiving option, as his height at 6'3" would make him the Raiders tallest WR.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are crossing their fingers that Sammy Watkins falls to them at the seventh overall pick. However, with that unlikely to happen, it is very possible for the Bucs to look for WR help at the beginning of Day Two. Drafting Matthews would give Tampa Bay one of the tallest WR groups in the league, with Vincent Jackson coming in at 6'5" and Mike Williams at 6'2". With new Head Coach Lovie Smith saying Josh McCown is the team's starting quarterback, the offense needs to add more weapons for the veteran quarterback, especially with the offseason issues Williams has encountered. Matthews would be a perfect compliment to Vincent Jackson.
New York Giants
Similar to some of the other teams listed in this article, the Giants are being linked to wide receivers with the 12th overall pick: many experts have them selecting Texas A&M's Mike Evans. However, if the Giants decide to go with defense in the first round, they will almost definitely provide Eli Manning with a new target in the second round. Even with Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, and Mario Manningham, the Giants still need help on offense. With Cruz playing at his best in the slot, Matthews would be the perfect receiver to line up on the outside opposite Rueben Randle. The Giants have a hole in their WR core with Hakeem Nicks signing in Indianapolis, but drafting Matthews would make Manning forget about Nicks very quickly.
Yes, they have the best WR in the league in Calvin Johnson. Yes, they just signed Golden Tate to be their number 2 receiver. But even with those two already on the roster, the Lions are still in the market for a wide receiver. Johnson was forced to miss a couple of games last season, and when he was out, Matthew Stafford struggled. Drafting Matthews would give the Lions the WR depth that they desperately need, and provide Stafford with a good replacement if Johnson is forced to miss some games. It also gives Stafford three very talented receivers to get the ball to when everyone is healthy.
It is not likely that Jordan Matthews makes it past the first half of the second round in the 2014 NFL Draft. At 6'3', 206 lbs., Matthews is the big receiver that numerous teams desperately need. If he does somehow fall to the later part of the second round, look for teams such as the New York Jets, the New Orleans Saints, and the New England Patriots to move up in the round in order to secure the services of the greatest receiver in the Vanderbilt's history. Wherever he ends up, all Commodore fans will surely continue to root for Matthews. Once a Commodore, always a Commodore.