Browns Could Do Worse Than to Draft the Next Matthews

Oregon’s Casey Matthews is the son of Cleveland Browns legend Clay Matthews II. You saw him last night all over the field playing his line-backer position tracking down Auburn runners. The 6’2″ senior led his team in tackles and was a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award. He may not have the sack numbers (3) that the Browns are looking for, but keep in mind that Clay Matthews III was not a highly touted sack machine at USC either. He’s done ok for himself.

Would the Browns be trying to cash in on previous family success by taking Matthews? Of course! But here’s the thing- in this age of busts and mis-used draft picks, Casey Matthews seems like as much of a sure thing as you can get. Think about it.

Here’s the family pedigree

First there was William Clay Matthews Sr., who played at Georgia Tech in the 1940s and for four years in the ’50s with the NFL’s 49ers. Among his five children were William Clay Matthews Jr. and Bruce Matthews, both of whom starred at USC. Clay Jr. went on to a 19-year career in the NFL as a linebacker, making the Pro Bowl four times and ranking among the league’s top 20 in games played with 278. Bruce had a 19-year career as an offensive lineman, made the Pro Bowl 14 times, is in the Hall of Fame, and he held the league record in games played at 296 until Brett Favre kept coming back, and back, and back.

Bruce, an offensive line coach with the NFL’s Texans, has seven children, including five boys. Steve played football at Baylor; Kevin just became a starting center for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans late this season; Jake is a freshman at Texas A&M and was scheduled to play in Friday night’s Cotton Bowl; Mikey is a highly recruited high school player in Houston; and fifth-grader Luke weighs 150 pounds and may be the best of them all someday.

Clay Jr., an assistant coach at Oaks Christian High School in Agoura Hills, has five children, four of them boys, three of them football players. Kyle played at USC and got a national championship ring on the 2003 team; William Clay III walked on at USC and worked his way up to starting linebacker and to a 2009 first-round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers.

There has been some debate about the selection of Alex Mack over Clay Matthews III among Browns fans. While Clay is certainly an impact player, you can’t say that Alex Mack isn’t a very good lineman for the Browns at an important position. Would Mack have been available later when the Browns selected? That is up for debate, and really there is no good way to know.

Regardless of whether or not the Browns passed up a big time chance to connect with the past and get a great player in Clay III, they should not pass up this chance.

How many times do you get the opportunity to pick a player that has been raised by a Pro-Bowl family? How many times are Matthews family members going to be bypassed in the draft, only to have long and productive careers? I’m not advocating taking Casey with the 6th pick, but I for one would rather the Browns err on the side of caution and grab Matthews several spots before he is ‘slotted’ to go.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

  • Harv 21

    Just draft the whole family. Would be safer than a Dwight Clark Mangini draft.

  • Lyon

    Where is he projeocted to go?

    I’d love to have an impact LB, be it Matthews or someone else. We need a playmaker at that position.

  • Harv 21

    Clark “or” Mangini draft

  • Dave

    It’d be great to pick him up, even if we have to trade, and have him donning 57 in honor of good ole pops.

    If the Browns are going to win 4 or 5 games again, at least give the fans a feel good story.

  • Chris

    I’ve always wondered how you shave with a chin cleft like that.

  • Shamrock

    It’s amazing how he plays like his brother and both play like the dad. Quite the lineage of the Matthews. Bruce Matthews has a son who plays OT for someone. He’ll be in the NFL next.

  • Garry Owen

    Could those guys look any more like their dad? Did they have a mom, or did Clay somehow figure out how to conduct personal mitosis? Attack of the freaking clones.

    Don’t worry. If we don’t draft this one, we’ll get the next iteration. Or the one after that. Or the one after that. . . .

  • Robbie

    Where is he projected to go? I would guess based-on his performance last night, combined with his brother’s play in Green Bay, he’s going to go sooner than you would expect.

  • Charlie

    Do it, and let the English see you do it.

  • b

    The Packers would be nuts to not trade up if they have to and draft him too!

  • ben

    He’s good, but there’s some obvious Browns-homerism going on here. I’m all for drafting him, but don’t reach.

    He’s probably more D’Qwell Jackson/Jon Beason than he is DeMarcus Ware.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I mentioned this in a comment the other day. This kid needs to be a Cleveland Brown. I don’t think you use pick #6 on him (I might change my mind on that), but if you can trade down to the mid-late 1st and he’s sitting there, you have to do it. You can’t argue with that pedigree…

  • Garry Owen

    Gotta love when the most optimistic headline for our fair team is “Browns could do worse.”

    Something tells me they will.

  • MrCleaveland

    Does Mike Junkin have any kids? Craig Powell? Beau Bell?

  • paulbip

    Talking about bloodlines makes you a racist. Also, Mack would have gone to Pitts. Matthews is slotted to go in the 2nd round.

  • RK

    I hope he ends up as a brown too but he definitely is not slated to go before the 3rd round as of right now and i’ve even heard 4th or 5th round. That could obviously change and i could see him being drafted in the second but there is no way the browns should take him at any point in the first round unless other teams’ interest raises after his combine.

  • Shamrock

    Ugh I forgot Browns fans read this so KISS applies: draft him but obviously not #6 overall. And you people make fun of Pittsburgians, lol!

  • Jay

    I’m definitely not opposed to drafting him in the late second or third round. Not a #6 pick for sure, but to be able to take him in a mid-round, absolutely. I’m sure his stock will rise at pro-day workouts and the combine, but I wouldn’t take him until after the 1st round.

  • BrooklynBrown

    Before last nights game he was considered top 5 inside linebackers, maybe he upped his stock last night with a solid performance…..

    He is projected in the 3rd round and one draft guy (name escapes me) actually has the Browns taking him at #6 in the 3rd……I would gladly spend our 3rd round pick on him and rock my old 57 jersey!!

  • barry

    oregon plays a lot of odd & even fronts – which means their players have to be fairly bright to know all the formations and coverages. that’s an intangible which might make matthews more likely to contribute quickly assuming ryan will still be here running the defense.

  • ManginisMother

    Is he a maddog in a meat market? Pops should be in HOF. He was 10x the player Chris Hanburger was.

  • Gren

    I’ve said it a million times, I’ll say it again. You don’t have a dominant defense without a leader in your LB corps. This could be our guy. As far as draft projections :

    “Right now, his ceiling is as high as a late first round pick, but he’ll most likely be selected between the middle of the second round and middle of the third round. Look for teams like Indianapolis, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Detroit to target him. If teams feel he can make the transition to 3-4, it could improve his stock heavily as teams like Cleveland, Buffalo, Arizona, and Green Bay could look at grabbing him in the 2011 NFL Draft.”


  • bobby

    I would look for him with the 2nd pick for the browns. I highly think the browns will be a 43 and the transition wont matter. He kind of reminds me of another Oregon defender that the browns “reached” for in the last draft. If the browns got BPA then Matthews I would sure as heck be happy with the first 2 picks.

  • Zach

    I completely agree Rick. I posted a piece about him last week saying the Browns do need to draft him. He is predicted right now to be a 4th or 5th round selection, so he could easily be available on the 2nd day.

    It would suck if the Browns missed out on Casey.

  • Eddie

    It would be nice but we need a good DE and a WR that can go deep quick before we pick up Matthews. If we could somehow pick up all three, that would be sweet.

  • Jason

    Forget this guy, if you watched the game last night the perfect fit is Nick Fairley. The guy is unblockable at the college level…should be better than average in the NFL.

  • Rick

    You are right Jason, Fairley is a beast. And he will not be there when the Browns pick at #6. He may not get past #2.

  • bobby

    @ Jason- Fairley would be nice, but he will be long gone by the 6th pick. He could very well be the #1 now that Andrew Luck isnt coming out.

  • P Shurmer

    I could see us taking him at the start of the fifth or maybe fourth round… He’s no Clay Matthews…