Clay Matthews could have been drafted by Lions
You’ve heard the talk about Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews being on track for the NFL’s defensive player of the year. In three games he has a whopping half-dozen sacks, along with 15 total tackles.
Matthews and the Packers will face the 0-3 Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The Lions could have drafted him in 2009, but instead they got TE Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall pick in the first round. Matthews was the 26th overall pick.
The Lions have no regrets.
Jim Schwartz remembers being at USC’s pro day where Matthews was working out.
“A lot of people worked Matthews out as a tight end. There was that much discussion, like ‘Hey, he’s a great athlete, but maybe he’s better suited to play another position.’ He made an unbelievable catch in that workout that I still remember,’’ Schwartz said.
One reason he wasn’t attractive to the Lions is he did not fit their scheme.
“He plays a little bit of a different position in their defense. He’s more of defensive end in our scheme. That’s a little bit more of a stretch. We liked him in the draft, but I think it’s sort of like we talk about having profiles and getting guys that fit exactly the role that we want,’’ Schwartz said. “... For sure we’ll have to know where 52 is and have to take him out.’’
Matthews’ dad, William Clay Matthews Jr., was a Pro Bowl player who spent 19 seasons in the NFL with Cleveland and Atlanta.
“I was around his dad in Cleveland in 1993 and I was around his uncle (Bruce Matthews) in Tennessee for about three years or so, and you can tell that blood’s pumping through his veins. That goes from their grandfather down to their father,’’ Schwartz said. “If you could put that in some vials, you could sell some of that stuff, because he’s very impressive that way. It’s really amazing that he was a walk-on in college and didn’t start until he was a senior." (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)