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TC Matchup: WR Christian Blake vs. CB Christian Matthew

NFL: Arizona Cardinals OTA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Background: May 23, 2022; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Blake (39) during OTA workouts at the teams training facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

Former Falcons’ WR, Christian Blake (25, 6-1, 180, 4.51 40, 6.83 3 cone, 34.5” vertical, Northern Illinois) , could turn out to be one of the Cardinals’ best under the radar signings this off-season.

Here is a video of some of his receptions with the Falcons:

Per, Christian Blake’s college numbers were:

• In 47 career games, caught 83 passes for 972 yards and six touchdowns.

• Threw five career passes, completing three for 32 yards, during his collegiate career.

• Responsible for 1,235 all-purpose yards, including rushing, receiving and kickoff returns.

It is a feather in his cap that as an undrafted college free agent in 2018, Christian Blake wound up making the 53 man roster in 2019-2021 and would contribute to the offense (28 catches for 257 yards) and on special teams (4 tackles last year).

While Christian Blake might be a long-shot to make the Cardinals 53 man roster, with an impressive training camp, he could make a strong case for the Cardinals to either make the back end of the roster or be re-signed to the team’s practice squad.

On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals’ 7th round pick, CB Christian Matthew (25, 6-2. 195, 4.5 40, 7.22 3 cone, 41” vertical, Valdosta St.) is a tall, aggressive CB who likes to play the “inch technique” in press man coverage, which is, on the snap, taking a 6-7 inch step toward the receiver to then with his inside arm, punch the WR’s inside shoulder to knock him off his standard route.

Matthew does a superb job of explaining his college career path to the NFL (Georgia Southern, Samford and Valdosta St. —- where he had to miss a season in 2020 because of it being cancelled due to COVID and then as a 1st Team All-Gulf South CB this past season, ranking 5th in the nation in pass breakups he helped lead Valdosta St. to the D-II national championship game) in his first interview with the Arizona media:

What an engaging young man. Great interview!

The reason why Christian Matthew was able to hear his name called during the draft is the impressive performance he made at the 2022 College Gridiron Showcase.

I watched Ferris State’s 58-17 blowout win versus Valdosta State —- Christian Matthew (#9) played press man coverage at LCB and blanketed his man all game. Was hoping to see him chase down some of Ferris State’s big plays on offense, but the vast majority of the big plays came to the side opposite Matthew. I saw him miss one tackle trying to chase a play from behind, but that was the only play he appeared to miss. In Valdosta St.’s 34-31 semi-final win over Colorado School of Mines, Christian Matthew led the defense in solo tackles (5), had one assist and one pass breakup. If you want to see some of his play in the championship game, here is the video:

Christian Matthew has already asserted how much he wants to learn from covering DeAndre Hopkins —- but, to start with, let’s see how well he can handle Christian Blake.

These are the kind of training camp matchups that are very intriguing.