When the roster can have up to 90 players, it’s not a bad idea for NFL teams to take worthwhile gambles on players who might be considered reclamation projects, or in the case of former Philadelphia Eagles second-round wide receiver Jordan Matthews, changing positions completely. Matthews is apparently attempting to make it in the NFL as a tight end after playing just last season as a wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers.
Matthews is listed at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, so it’s fair to assume that he’s now somewhere in the 245-pound range. It would be absolutely fascinating to see his physical transformation, and I’m sure that’s going to happen at some point in the near future.
How about the trend former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow seemed to start this offseason? Tebow signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin signed with the New York Giants as a tight end, and now Matthews is attempting to make the switch.
It’s certainly an interesting way to get your name out there, and the Denver Broncos happen to be one of the teams that I think could really afford to take a shot like this.
With Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam as the top two tight ends on the roster right now, what’s the pecking order behind those guys?
The Broncos have Eric Saubert, Austin Fort, undrafted rookie Shaun Beyer, and fullback Andrew Beck who is listed on the roster as a FB/TE.
One really interesting connection that could help Matthews potentially draw some interest from the Denver Broncos is offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Shurmur was the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator from 2013-15 and their interim head coach in 2015.
Matthews was picked in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt and had the best two seasons of his NFL career when Shurmur was on Chip Kelly’s staff.
In those two seasons, Matthews caught a combined 152 passes for 1,869 yards and 16 touchdowns.
During Matthews’ rookie training camp in 2014, Shurmur was quoted as saying:
He can play anywhere. He’s got size. He’s good against bump-and-run coverage. His spacial awareness is good…There are different combinations of things that can happen when you’re inside as opposed to outside. He kind of has a good feel for that. You’ve been able to see in camp that he’s been able to get open and make plays.
Pat Shurmur, 2014 via The Philadelphia Inquirer
Of course, Matthews would go on to play very well for Shurmur and Chip Kelly the next two seasons before Kelly was axed and Shurmur was put in charge of the team before they really reloaded in 2016.
From 2016-20, Matthews would bounce around from the Eagles to the Buffalo Bills, back to the Eagles, and then to the San Francisco 49ers.
He turns just 29 in July, so it’s not like this is a grizzled veteran on borrowed time looking for a gig. Matthews could legitimately still have something in the tank and can obviously play a big slot role for an 11-personnel heavy attack.
Again, given the Denver Broncos’ current depth at the tight end position as well as Matthews’ history with Shurmur, the pairing here would be a very intriguing one.