“He’s stronger and faster than he looks,” Bess said.
Matthews originally signed with Oregon but “messed up academically” and attended a junior college before enrolling at Nevada, where he caught 147 passes for 2,243 yards and 13 touchdowns in two seasons.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said he expected Matthews to be drafted far higher after a late-March on-campus workout when he “blew my socks off. Scouts said it was as good a workout as they have seen from a receiver” last spring.
But Matthews said his stock dropped because at the NFL Combine, he wasn’t fully healed from a knee injury.
Moore said Matthews reminds him of Baltimore’s Anquan Bolden because of his physical play, and Matthews has been studying Bolden’s tapes on YouTube.
“I still make a lot of mental mistakes,” Matthews said. “Technique-wise, I need to improve. But I’m showing a lot of upside, and I haven’t reached my potential yet. A lot of people underestimate my speed because of my size.”
Philbin said Matthews’ “play speed is starting to catch up. There’s still a curve that needs to get accelerated as quickly as we possibly can. I like the way he’s developing.”
Matthews and Moore are roommates on the road and, coincidentally, both made their first NFL receptions on a Thursday night game before Thanksgiving — two years ago for Moore, this year for Matthews.
“Marlon has been a big brother, mentor to me, taught me to be patient,” Matthews said. “He’s seen me get frustrated and stressed out. He understands what I’m going through.”