Saints may have harder time getting to Falcons’ Matt Ryan _lowres

Jake Matthews, from Texas A&M, is congratulated after being selected sixth overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The Saints sacked Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan eight times in their two meetings last year.

But that could prove to be tougher this season.

After flirting with the idea of trading up, the Falcons stayed put and addressed a key area of need in taking Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick. Matthews figures to become an instant starter at left tackle for Atlanta.

Matthews comes from royal bloodline. He is the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and nephew of Clay Matthews Jr., a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Browns. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III and Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews are cousins.

Tampa Bay had been thought to be a team that might jump into the Johnny Manziel sweepstakes, but the Bucs instead took another Aggie — wide receiver Mike Evans. Manziel’s premier target at Texas A&M.

The 6-foot-5, 231-pound Evans had 69 catches for 1,394 yards and 12 TDs last season.

The selections of Matthews and Evans give Texas A&M a top-10 pick in the past four drafts, joining Alabama (2009-13) and Southern California (1993-97) as the only schools with that distinction since the merger.

Robinson in good company

Greg Robinson of Thibodaux became the fifth player from Louisiana to be taken with the second overall pick in the draft when the offensive tackle from Auburn was tabbed by the St. Louis Rams.

The other four — Jerry Stovall in 1963, Bert Jones in 1973, Neil Smith in 1988 and Marshall Faulk in 1994.

Four players from Louisiana have been the No. 1 picks — Tommy Mason in 1960, Terry Bradshaw in 1970, Peyton Manning in 1998 and Eli Manning in 2001.

Fisher breaks form

In 19 seasons as a head coach, 17 of them with first-round draft picks, Rams coach Jeff Fisher had never taken a lineman. That changed Thursday with selection of Robinson.

He’s No. 2

Jadeveon Clowney isn’t the first player from South Carolina to go No. 1 in the draft.

That distinction goes to Heisman Trophy-winning running back George Rogers, whom the Saints took in 1981, the only time they picked in that spot.

Although it’s often pointed out the Saints bypassed future Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor to take Rogers, it should be remembered that as a rookie Rogers led the league in rushing with 1,674 yards, which also still stands as the Saints record. He is the No. 2 rusher in team history.

Rogers played three more seasons with the Saints, rushing for 4,267 yards with 23 TDs before spending his final three years in Washington.

Follow Ted Lewis on Twitter: @LewisAdvocate