The main two NFL declarations the Aggies were waiting on are finally over. Tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, who just happened to be the two best tackles on one line in the country, had differing opinions on whether to enter the draft as juniors or not.
Joeckel, the Outland Trophy winner at left tackle, spurned his senior year and could possibly be the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, but Matthews decided to stay and play with his brother Mike. And Johnny Manziel and Kevin Sumlin breathed a collective sigh of relief.
It’s debatable whether Alabama or Texas A&M had the best offensive line in the country in 2012. I tend to think Bama’s was better run blocking, while the Aggies’ was better pass blocking. But it’s obvious both were in a league of their own compared to any other team in the country.
Nonetheless, Joeckel’s departure created enormous shoes to fill protecting Manziel’s blindside, but Matthews is the logical one to fill them. He’ll slide from right tackle to left tackle. Right guard Cedric Ogbuehi, who has an enormous amount of potential, will slide out from right guard to tackle to help solidify a line that returns three starters in ‘13. Center Patrick Lewis is the other lineman who graduated.
Presumably, the Aggies could have back-to-back years with an Outland Trophy winner at left tackle and the first offensive lineman taken in the NFL Draft. Think about that.
While Manziel and the Aggie offense will put up crooked numbers in the stat sheet, you can bet your boots the offensive line will be a major part of the success.
Does Matthews’ return make Texas A&M preseason No. 1 in 2013?
Photo Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE