The Clay Matthews Effect on the 2011 NFL Draft

I think we've all seen the NFL and the copy cat league it is known for. Clay Matthews has drawn a lot of credit for the Packers recent success, including their Super Bowl victory. His dominance was unmeasurable. Think about what the Packers gave up to get him in the 09' draft. An early 2nd rounder and 2 early 3rd round picks. At the time it was a lot to give up for a team that missed the playoffs. Now look at the payoff! Ted Thompson is hailed as a genius to foresee what Clay Jr. would become.

The Clay Matthews Effect- the belief that a pass rush LB can dominate a game from multiple spots on the field and have a direct effect on the overall outcome of the game.

How many teams right now are thinking that there are no franchise QB's in this draft? There could be a few. Now think about how many teams believe that if they just get that pass rusher they are set and ready for a playoff/Super Bowl run, look what it did for Green Bay. Think Clay Matthews, then consider that Von Miller is the most hyped/talented 3-4 rush LB in the draft. If the Bills are planning on taking Von Miller and some other teams behind them don't think there is a franchise QB in this draft, then a trade up scenario becomes a serious reality.

The following teams may be in the running for trading up to the #1...Bills, Cardinals, 49ers, Texans, Patriots, and the Chargers. The Patriots, Chargers, and Texans already have the franchise QB, and they also have the ammo to move up to the #1, they just need a Clay Matthews type player.  The Bills and 49ers may think they can get to the playoffs with Ryan Fitzpatrick  and Alex Smith, if they just had a dominating pass rusher on the opposite side of the ball.

Can you imagine the Patriots or Chargers with a dominating pass rusher?? Yikes! What about the Texans! These teams have the picks to get this deal done. I know, Belicheck doesn't trade down? Do you think he's tired of dominating the NFL without winning another Superbowl? Do you really think that he is just gonna keep playing the trade down game?

The only thing that these teams need is a dominant pass rusher, and you saw what the Clay Matthews Effect did for the Packers. I can just imagine the discussions between coaches, owners, and GM's right now, "if only we had a dominant pass rusher like Clay Matthews we could...", or in the Patriots and Chargers case, "if only we had taken Clay Matthews in the 09' draft...".

The Cardinals have a potentially dominating defensive line heading into next year with Dan Williams, Campbell and Dockett. What would their defense become if they get a Clay Matthews type pass rusher?

So why not trade up to the #2 with the Broncos? Well, the first reason would be that maybe they don't want to trade out of that spot. If you get the choice of taking Dareus or Peterson, and you already had a couple QB's on your roster, would you trade out of that pick? The other reason to trade up to the #1 is the very fact that many teams may try to target the #2 pick all the while another team may be planning on leap frogging it up to the #1. This forces even the Bills to have to investigate moving up, unless they are comfortable with taking their chances.

Call me crazy, but to me this scenario playing out is high on the probability list. Two things must happen for the Clay Matthews Effect to occur. First, a team must believe that Von Miller will be as dominating as Clay Matthews. Second, that team must believe that the Bills are ready to take him at the #3 spot.

For those of you Newton/Gabbert lovers...if the Panthers put it out there that they were going to take one of these fellas, and no one called about a trade,then maybe the Panthers believe they can get their "franchise QB" even if they trade back.

Also, if the Panthers are putting it out there that they are investigating Bowers, I would take that as they are looking at trading down to at least the #5. I would also say they are expecting to pickup a DE other than Bowers. With the Panthers recent history, pointed out by James (correct me if I'm wrong on the credit here), another DE is being targeted if they are dropping hints that they are interested in Bowers. Think Robert Quinn, Cam Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, and Aldon Smith.


Hurney hinted that no one is calling, well what if that has changed and multiple teams are calling? If teams are sold on Von Miller being a superstar waiting to happen, then a bidding war may ensue if the Clay Matthews Effect takes hold.

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