Given the draft’s early demand for offensive tackles, Jake Matthews may have been the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft had he declared. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)
BBD Editor: Dan Hope
When Jake Matthews announced in January he would return to Texas A&M for his senior season, it seemed like a smart move for his draft stock. When teammate Luke Joeckel declared for the 2013 NFL draft, it opened up an opportunity for Matthews to play the offensive line’s premier position, left tackle, and improve his draft stock with a great senior year.
One has to wonder if Matthews regrets his decision after seeing how the 2013 NFL draft played out.
Traditionally, the left tackle position has been viewed as a much more valuable position than right tackle. That school of thinking has been challenged recently, however, with more elite pass-rushers including Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller lining up over the right tackle.
The 2013 draft made a clear statement that teams are now putting high value in both offensive tackle positions. Four offensive tackles were drafted in the top 11 picks, including the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 overall selections. Each of them is projected to play right tackle as a rookie and potentially in future seasons.
If Jake Matthews has a strong senior season, he should be viewed as an elite prospect as both a left and right tackle, and will only help his stock for the 2014 NFL draft. That said, there is reason to believe he may have unknowingly passed up a shot to be the No. 1 or 2 overall pick in 2013.