Texas A&M may have the top two picks in April’s NFL draft with Outland trophy winner, Luke Joeckel and defensive end DaMontre Moore in position to be drafted that high after successful junior seasons, but the Aggies are fortunate that a third potential first round pick returned to College Station.
Offensive tackle Jake Matthews likely would have been a mid to low first round pick had the right tackle left Texas A&M after his junior season, but to the delight of “Gig ‘em Nation” will return for his senior season and make the shift to the left side. Cedric Ogbuehi is the leading candidate to replace him on the right side after starting at guard last season.
Playing left tackle will improve Matthews’ draft stock provided he excels at the position like he did on the strong side. At 6-6 and 305-pounds he possesses the foot speed, lateral quickness, and agility to protect the blind side of Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Returning for his senior season will allow Matthews to play alongside his younger brother Mike who could be the starting center this season after Patrick Lewis’ departure, and that is an opportunity that had to be an overriding factor in his decision to bypass millions of dollars to play for free one more season.
However, an opportunity to challenge for an SEC and BCS National Championship also had to be in the forefront of his mind when deciding to come back. The Aggies should be a preseason top-five team in 2013 and that is something the All-American can never replicate in the NFL.
Matthews is the next in a long line of pro football players in his family. He is the son of NFL hall of fame offensive lineman Bruce and the nephew of Clay Matthews Jr. and the cousin of Clay Matthews III and Casey Matthews.
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