The Atlanta Falcons are certainly looking for an upgrade for depth at the offensive tackle position, an upgrade from Sam Baker, or even his replacement in the 2013 NFL Draft. I think all three of those questions could be answered by one of the tackle tandem out of Texas A&M University. LT Luke Joeckel and RT Jake Matthews are two players who could seriously help the Falcons if they were drafted.
Both are very talented players and have the potential to be able to play right away for the team that selected them. Jake Matthews is a very talented player who plays RT for A&M, but has the potential to even play LT in the NFL. That’s how good scouts think he is. But he may not even be the best tackle on the team. That title would doubtless belong to LT Luke Joeckel, a player who has the potential to be an elite lineman in the NFL. Any team would be lucky to have this All-Big 12 player as a cornerstone of their franchise. He is also slightly unheralded. I know its really early, but Todd McShay doesn’t even have him going off the board in the 2013 Draft until No. 28 in this ESPN Insider Post. I think that would certainly make it easy for the Falcons to take him. Given OT talent McShay has going in this draft, the Falcons may be able to land Joeckel, or another quality LT late in the 1st round. They may even be able to get a solid guy like Jake Matthews in the 2nd round. But we’re getting a little off track here.
During the 2012 College season, Joeckel and Matthews will be on the A&M team that will be experiencing their first season in the SEC. Joeckel was a 1st team All-Big 12 in 2011, but in ’12 he will be facing off the finest defenses and pass-rushers that college football has to offer, and he will be trying to block them week in and week out. Playing LT in the SEC is the ultimate crucible for a lineman. If Joeckel can consistently play at a level similar to how he did last season, he would move up everyone’s charts, build quite a resume against SEC teams, and play in a weekly spotlight in the South. The same goes for Matthews: he could prove himself as an NFL worthy player if they come close to the 9 sacks they gave up in all of 2012. If they average 9 sacks surrendered per game, they would not pass the test. Obviously the Aggies will probably struggle in their transition year into the SEC, but if they can play here they will probably not have too much of a problem adjusting to the NFL game. Many of the pass-rushers they face on Saturdays, they will end up facing on Sundays! If these guys are successful, A&M will be successful (at least offensively), and these tackles will be realized as the tremendous talents that they are, and the huge potential they have with teams.
I certainly hope the Falcons can get one of these guys in 2013, preferably one who could start at LT quickly, someone who would be a huge improvement over Sam Baker. Throughout the College Football season, Falcons fans might want to keep an eye on the tackles from Texas A&M. Both are guys Atlanta would like to have, and if they continue to play well, one of them could end up in a Falcons jersey starting in 2013.