Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel announced his entry into the 2013 NFL Draft on Tuesday, surprising few. As a junior, he protected and paved the way for Johnny Manziel's Heisman Trophy, going up against some of the best defensive line talent in the country in the SEC. For his efforts, he won the Outland Trophy, given every year to college football's best interior lineman, and is expected to be one of the first players selected by an NFL franchise in April.
Stats are hard to come by for offensive lineman, but the success of Texas A&M's offense serves as evidence enough of Joeckel's effectiveness. The Aggies ranked third in the nation averaging 558.5 yards of total offense per game. With Joeckel protecting the blindside, Texas A&M gave up 23 sacks despite attempting the 24th-most passes of any team in the nation, an average of one sack given up every 21.4 pass attempts.
Before officially declaring for the draft, the 6-6, 310-pound Joeckel was already being tabbed by many sources as the top left tackle prospect in this year's draft. SB Nation's own Matthew Fairburn released a mock draft on Monday that has Joeckel going No. 4 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jason Peters is a huge question mark at left tackle after his most recent injury. Durability was the biggest issue with Philadelphia's offensive line this season, as injuries made the unit look a lot worse than it was. Still, the Eagles would be wise to take the best tackle prospect in the draft. Joeckel is one of the best players in this draft. He needs to get a bit stronger, but has been a solid blindside protector throughout his career.
NFL Draft Countdown also slotted Joeckel at No. 4 overall to the Eagles, as did Dane Brugler at CBS Sports. Brugler's co-worker Rob Rang, meanwhile, has Joeckel going No. 1 overall to a Kansas City Chiefs in need of help across the board on offense.
We'll see how Joeckel performs once Pro Days and the NFL Combine begin. At this point, however, projections are unanimous in their love for the now-former Aggie.