Texas A&M has quite the luxury.
NFL scouts undoubtedly have their eyes fixed on the bookend tackles every trip down to College Station. Come next fall, both Matthews and Joeckel could be suiting up on Sundays.
But what is it that makes these two so great? How high in the draft can they go? And are they the two best offensive tackles in this draft class?
What Luke Joeckel brings to the table:
Luke Joeckel starts for the Aggies at left tackle and fits the prototype for the position. His 6-foot-6, 310-pound frame combined with superior athleticism, makes him the ideal fit for left tackle at the next level.
Joeckel has very few weaknesses in his game. Despite his monstrous frame, Joeckel is light on his feet and manages to seal of the edge effectively by sinking into his stance in a hurry. Along with his teammate Matthews, Joeckel is a phenomenal cut-blocker. He knows when and how to hit the turf to take defenders out of the play. Combine those traits with his ability to move his feet and shoot to the second level of a defense and sustain blocks, and Joeckel would seem to make a lot of sense for NFL teams operating a zone-blocking scheme.
Occasionally, however, Joeckel will get beat off the snap. He has to work on being consistent in his technique and avoid bending at the waist, even if it only happens on rare occasions.
What Matthews brings to the table:
While Matthews isn't quite as big as Joeckel, he makes up for it with his superior athleticism. He is very light on his feet and is very difficult to beat around the edge. He has not been tested as much as Joeckel since he has been stuck at right tackle for much of his career, but Matthews has proven his ability to stonewall defenders over the last few years. Much like his teammate, Matthews would make a ton of sense in a zone-blocking scheme. He's an incredible athlete, consistently displays high football intelligence and has shown a willingness and ability to make effective cut-blocks.
Matthews needs to get stronger, however, to take his game to the next level. He is an effective run-blocker, but added bulk and strength would allow him to sustain his blocks more consistently.
Can Matthews play left tackle?
Jake Matthews might not be the best left tackle on his college team, but he could very well be one of the best left tackle in the entire country. In limited action at the position in 2011, Matthews proved his ability to keep up with speed rushers and power ends alike. If not for Joeckel, Matthews would be Texas A&M's starting blindside protector.
Who is the better player?
While many have Joeckel slotted higher than Matthews, and Texas A&M must think higher of him given the fact that he plays left tackle, the two are closer in skill level than most people think.
Both are excellent in pass protection, but Matthews has a borderline edge in that department. He is as consistent as they come in terms of technique. Combine that with his athleticism, and Matthew is rarely beat around the edge.
While both need work on their work in the ground game, Joeckel packs more of a punch than Matthews. He's a stronger player and consistently gets a better push off the ball than Matthews does. Joeckel has an elite ability to reach the second level of the defense and engage in blocks. Zone blocking teams will take notice.
Are Matthews and Joeckel the two best tackles in the nation?
The short answer: yes. Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthew have an excellent chance of being the first two offensive tackles off the board if they enter the draft at the same time. Currently, there are no offensive tackles playing better football than these two. Michigan's Taylor Lewan is certainly in the conversation, but the consistency Matthews and Joeckel have displayed has been impressive. They are steady anchors for an offensive line that has faced tough competition in the early going.