I would be thrilled if we take Matthews. There is a lot to like about his game, and the more I watch him, the more I like him. While I don't expect us to take him, in lieu of a bigger target, I love how he works at his craft. He's not short at 6025 but he's not 6'4" either. I particularly like how he works at his release. His release is sudden and crisp with almost no wasted movement or hesitation. He knows how he's going to attack a CB, and he knows ahead of time what his counter moves are. He's not unlike a late day 3 slot receiver prospect in this years' draft (Alex Amidon BC). Both players look like they are shot out of a cannon at the snap. He is the kind of receiver who I can see succeeding at the X (Split End) receiver. He's got the toolset to excel there. Size, hand fighting skills, quickness, intelligence and explosive release.
I also like how he is gifted at getting open. Obviously it's harder to evaluate that at the college level, but he works at it well and that kind of work ethic can translate at the next level. He just seems to be almost instantly open on the majority of his routes. He's a student of the game and it shows. He has a similar mindset to Russell Wilson in terms of his tireless approach to preparation. This is well documented and has been a consistent trait of his since arriving at Vanderbilt. It appears to be similarly as unbelievably genuine in that regard.
What he doesn't have, is Coleman's ability to take the lid off the defense. In fact, I'd say Coleman has a Kaepernick type of running style. He is a similarly long strider who if he gets off cleanly can really separate on longer routes. And against off coverage, his stride really picks up 8-10 yards off the ball and can close distance and extend clean from corners. That is a unique ability that wasn't featured much in his college tape. Likely due to the poor QB play.
If Coleman is off the board however, and we're still looking at WR -- I like Matthews as a plan B very much. He just looks like a WR who is going to continue to develop and improve through his dedication. His release and route running are both impressive. He also is a ball fighter, which is something I don't see with Coleman. On non vertical routes, I think Matthews will be the superior of the two at the NFL level.
I would not be hesitant to say he is a future #1 receiver. Although I am probably not in the majority of local fans in that respect. He's got similar height and weight to Jerry Rice. Probably will have better speed, as Jerry didn't fare well in his 40 time. His size profile is similar to Josh Gordon/Larry Fitzgerald/Jordy Nelson -- all in the 6'2-6'3 range. The size barrier is really not an absolute for being a #1 WR. Reggie Wayne is a clear #1 wideout at a mere 6'0".
If we're talking position skill set, then I'd put Matthews up there with Sammy Watkins and Abbrederis. These 3 players really show next level skills when it comes to ball fighting, route running and development over time. Watkins has the entire package, whereas Matthews and Abbrederis are missing physical elements (Speed and/or size). With other prospects, you're not going to see that as reliably. Seattle really hasn't established a WR prospect profile as outside of Tate, we've opted for unique/flawed physical prospects in day 3 and only sparingly at that. About the only thing I can really see, is that Seattle values receiver skils. Those are the players that make this team. And I'd say Tate is a perfect reflection of that, because while he was athletic and raw when he came here, the fact is, he was rarely used and 2 years into his career, it wasn't a given that he'd be granted a third year. He didn't get significant playing time until his skills were up to our standard.
Tate clearly intrigued Seattle with his unique YAC skills. But that's usually a gift that you covet more for a Z receiver. The X is a completely different kind of receiver and requires a different skill set. They aren't commonly interchangeable. In fact, I'd liken the X receiver to a LT on the O line. The needs of that position are similarly unique comparative to the OG/RT positions.
To be an X receiver, you can't just be big. You have to be able to release and beat the jam. You also can't utilize speed/agility/motion to get yourself free from coverage. Wide receiver skills matter more at that position. Matthews has those skills and has been visibly improving them year to year.
If he does somehow manage to break into the 4.4 range at the combine, I'd put him ahead of Coleman. I'm very concerned that Coleman is going to be unable to work the curl/out routes in the tree. He has great size, but doesn't really show great feet or flexibility. Those are needed to execute the 3/4 (curls) and the 5/6 (out/dig) routes. He doesn't get low which makes his break incredibly lethargic. He also has shown little ability to work his routes and force corners to abandon good position on coverage. Doesn't mean he can't do those things with time -- but physically, his size/flexibility and feet don't indicate to me that he will develop those traits.