Jake Matthews has leg up on family now

It's no secret that new Atlanta Falcons starting right tackle Jake Matthews, the sixth-overall pick in this year's NFL draft, has strong bloodlines.

Matthews' father, Bruce, is a Hall of Fame offensive guard. His cousin, Clay, is a four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker with the Green Bay Packers. In fact, Jake is the latest in a line of Matthews boys to make it to the NFL, following his grandfather, father, uncle, brother and two cousins.

And Jake, 6-foot-5 and 308 pounds, is the highest pick of them all. His father was the No. 9 overall pick in 1983 by the Houston Oilers.

"I'm definitely going to take those (bragging) rights," Jake said. "We have a great reputation in the NFL. And I'm just going to try and keep that same reputation going: a bunch of guys who work hard and do things the right way."

Jake might having bragging rights, but he'll never discount what it meant growing up the son of such a great offensive lineman and coming from such a strong football background. He comes from a family that has played in 753 NFL games in 54 seasons and made 22 Pro Bowls.

"From Day 1, I've had a second offensive line coach as a father," Jake said. "Not only a great football player, but a Hall of Famer at that. I've always been able to come home and talk to him, and getting his opinion was something I always took advantage of.

"In my opinion, he's the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game. I'd be happy to do half the things he did. He's such a great player, someone I really look up to and I'm real proud to call my dad."

On Dec. 8, Jake gets to square off against his cousin when the Falcons travel to Green Bay for "Monday Night Football" on ESPN.

"I'm fired up," Jake said. "Talking to my dad, some of his greatest memories of play in the NFL was going against his brother. I finally get the opportunity to play against my cousin who's All-Pro and a stud. That's going to be a huge challenge. I'm looking forward to it.

"I know that's the reason why Atlanta picked me: They think I'm a guy that can go in and take care of Matt Ryan. And I'm going to go out and prove that I can."