While this year's draft is lacking at the skill positions like quarterback and wide receiver, there's tons of depth on the offensive and defensive line. Luke Joeckel, the left tackle for the Texas A&M Aggies, leads OL prospects and will be taken in the top 10 but has a chance to slip into the top 5 depending on who's drafting there.
He's started all 26 games since being named a starter at LT as a freshman and was on the Big-12 First Team in 2011. Listed at 6'6" and 310 pounds, Joeckel has the necessary size to start in the NFL and has demonstrated the strength and skills needed to protect the QB's blind side.
Experience - Now a junior, Joeckel's a three year starter and with Texas A&M's move to the SEC he's been able to play against the top defensive talent in the nation. In the game against LSU, he's going against likely the most talented line in college as the Tigers have four potential first-rounders including DE Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. That type of experience against future NFL players will be very attractive for teams looking for a guy they can plug in right away, something expected of a top pick.
Pass Protection - While A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has been magnificent in his own right, a lot of his success can be attributed to Joeckel and RT Jake Matthews, who also could be drafted in the first round this year. Joeckel uses his hands very well to avoid holding calls and buy Manziel more time. With running quarterbacks, it can be tough for linemen to not grab some of the rusher's jersey, but Joeckel seems to have figured that out. He's got the necessary speed, strength, and technique to succeed in the NFL.
Run Blocking - Joeckel isn't bad at run blocking, but he's not elite either. It's rare to find guys who are great at both the pass and the run because they require different skills, but when looking at elite players, you have to start nit picking to find flaws. This is an area Joeckel will have to improve to become a top LT but even if he's average, his pass blocking will make him a starter.
Ceiling - Despite being the best tackle in the draft, Joeckel doesn't have the same hype surrounding him that Matt Kalil or Joe Thomas had. Those guys had the chance to become the best at their position (Thomas already is) and Joeckel doesn't have that same ceiling. Teams may want a guy with more potential, but they'll probably have to find it at a different position.
CBSSports.com has Joeckel as the number one overall prospect in the 2013 draft. I don't think I'd put him ahead of Jarvis Jones and maybe Manti Te'o, but he will be a good value starting around the fifth pick in the draft. The Philadelphia Eagles or Arizona Cardinals will be looking for offensive line help and could be drafting in the range where Joeckel makes sense. It's hard to make comparisons for linemen but Duane Brown of the Houston Texans might work. Joeckel should be a starter in the NFL for a long time, but may never become elite.!-->