Why rookie OTs will struggle

Jake Matthews, Zack Martin may be good picks, but will take time to develop

Updated: June 16, 2014, 1:13 PM ET
By Bill Polian | ESPN Insider

Five teams took an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. And for the majority of those teams, pass protection was a crying need for which they needed immediate help, headlined by the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. Despite each selecting one of the most talented tackles in this year's draft class, I'm here to tell you that, when it comes to immediate help on the offensive line, the Falcons and Cowboys aren't likely to get it. Not from their rookie tackles, at least.

Before I go on, let me make a clear distinction. I am not saying that the Falcons and Cowboys used their first-round picks poorly. Nor am I suggesting for a second that Atlanta draftee Jake Matthews or Cowboys selection Zack Martin is a poor offensive tackle prospect. If you recall, I included both among my top prospects for the 2014 draft.

But there's a limit to what any rookie can do in his first year in the NFL. And that holds particularly true for tackles.