FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons picked up some badly needed protection for quarterback Matt Ryan, selecting offensive tackle Jake Matthews of Texas A&M with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft Thursday night.
There were three offensive linemen thought to be worthy of going as high as sixth, but Auburn's Greg Robinson quickly went off the board at No. 2 to the St. Louis Rams. The Houston Texans chose South Carolina defensive star Jadaveon Clowney with the top overall selection.
The other two were still there after another possible Atlanta target, hybrid end-linebacker Khalil Mack, was snatched up by the Oakland Raiders at No. 5.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff took Matthews over Michigan lineman Taylor Lewan, intent on providing more protection for Ryan, who was sacked 44 times last season.