Position Grade: A-
Patrick Lewis has been a staple on the offensive line for three seasons.
Give me a second here. Before I get blasted for putting this group as an A- let me explain. There's absolutely no doubt that the offensive line is the strength of A&M's team, and the starting unit might be the best starting offensive line in the country. In fact, it's not even too crazy to think that A&M might have two NFL first round picks at tackle on the offensive line.
However, the group gets an "A-" because their depth is a big question. Two injuries on this group (which has never made it through a season intact) would suddenly make it a big question mark. That's the only reason this group doesn't get an "A+."
The Depth Chart
Joeckel - Ogbuehi - Lewis - ??? - Matthews
Here's the strength of the team. It's not a huge stretch to think that Patrick Lewis could have a future in the NFL as a center, and Cedric Ogbuehi has tremendous upside. Even with that, the strength is in the tackles, who an SEC radio host told me this week "many consider the best two tackles in college football."
The only real debate is right guard, where I think you'll see Jarvis Harrison this fall is he's healthy. But Shep Klinke definitely gave the coaches something to think about. Really, the A&M offensive line goes six deep, and similar to the way that Brian Thomas was a flex player last year, they have a similar situation this season.
An injury to one of the tackles would likely send Ogbuehi out to tackle and Klinke in at guard. An injury at guard is obvious. The only single injury that could really put them in a bind is at center, where Ben Compton would likely come from the second group at center.
After that, things get really dicey really quick. The Aggies don't have anybody proven after the first six, even though sophomore Ben Compton did impress his teammates this spring. Now, that's not necessarily cause for panic, because it's worth noting that in practice the whole second group plays together. So one player from that group moving up might look better than when they were with the second group as a unit. However, nobody in the second group, with the possible exception of Compton, looked ready to step into a primary role this spring.
Many consider Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel among the best two tackles in college football.
Mike Matthews comes in this fall at center, and should be able to provide some immediate depth to the second unit. He's not going to take Lewis' spot by any reach, and he may not even pass up Compton, but it gives the Aggies some all-important depth.
The biggest player coming in (literally) is Germain Ifedi. The massive offensive tackle from Houston Westside also won't be called on to be in the starting group, but should be able to provide some desperately needed depth at the tackle position.
Overall, there's not really any debate from me that the offensive line is easily the strength of the A&M team. However, as I said, it's not a particularly deep unit, and in the SEC depth is always a major concern.
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