Matthews, other 'Dores eagerly await NFL Draft
May 8, 2014
Matthews, from Madison, Ala., is attending the event in Radio City Music Hall, joining 29 other seniors from across the nation invited to participate in the draft. He also becomes the first Commodore to do so.
The Draft starts at 7 p.m., CT, with NFL Network and ESPN providing television coverage of the first round. Rounds 2-3 will be aired Friday, starting at 6 p.m. On Saturday, coverage of rounds 4-7 starts at 11 a.m., with rounds 4-7.
Matthews hopes to become the 10th Commodore all-time selected in the first round. Two Commodores have been picked in the first round in the last decade: offensive lineman Chris Williams as the 14th overall pick by Chicago in 2008 and quarterback Jay Cutler as the 11th pick by Denver in 2006.
Matthews, who broke virtually every Vanderbilt receiving record and holds multiple career marks in the Southeastern Conference, has been projected as a late 1st round-early 2nd round selection by most draft experts.
Matthews also hopes to become the first Vanderbilt wide receiver ever picked in the first round. Two former Commodore receivers - Bucky Curtis in 1951 and Chuck Scott in 1985 - have been taken in the second round.
The 2014 class of seniors could contend for the most Vanderbilt players picked in a single draft since the NFL limited the event to seven rounds in the mid-1990s. In 2001, four Commodores - linebackers Jamie Winborn and Matt Stewart, kicker John Markham and defensive back Jimmy Williams - were selected. Three Vanderbilt players were taken in 1998 and 2008.
Matthews is one of at least four Commodores with strong draft evaluations. Four-year starting offensive lineman Wesley Johnson of Nashville, three-year starting safety Kenny Ladler of Stone Mountain, Ga., and All-SEC cornerback Andre Hal of Port Allen, La., are likely to hear their names announced from the Radio City Music Hall stage during the three-day event.
Several other Commodore standouts are hoping to get selected - or quickly sign rookie free agent deals afterward. They include kicker Carey Spear of Mayfield Village, Ohio linebacker Chase Garnham of Fairhope, Ala., defensive end Walker May of Birmingham, linebacker/safety Karl Butler of New Orleans, quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels of San Jose, Calif., cornerback Steven Clarke of Fort Lauderdale, receiver Jonathan Krause of Snellville, Ga., safety Javon Marshall of Huber Heights, Ohio, defensive tackle Jared Morse of Oxford, Ala., and running back Wesley Tate of Hendersonville, Tenn.