Draft Profile: Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel

This is the first in a series. Between now and April’s draft, we’ll profile as many prospects as possible.

THE RESUME

Size? Check. Experience? Check. Pedigree? Check.

It’s easy to see why Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel projects as one of the first players to go off the board in April’s draft. At 6-6, 310 pounds, Joeckel had offers from several major programs coming out of high school, including Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma.

He chose the Aggies and flourished immediately, starting all 13 games as a freshman. Joeckel leaves school after his junior season with 38 starts (all at left tackle) under his belt. In 2012, he won the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top offensive lineman – especially impressive considering he was going up against SEC competition.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN’s Todd McShay has Joeckel as his No. 2 overall prospect:

Joeckel fared well against the likes of Alabama and LSU this season. His balance and ability to recover in pass protection stand out, and he takes good angles and is able to get to the second level in the run game.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Joeckel third:

Joeckel has the ability to take away good pass-rushers. There’s very little to not like. He has a ton of experience, starting on the left since his freshman season. He can really drive people in the run game, even if he gets questions on how nasty he is as a finisher. The feeling now is he’s a safe bet to be the first OT taken.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com has Joeckel ranked as his top prospect:

Joeckel is the same type of player as Jake Long, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2008. A junior, Joeckel has great size and athletic ability, as well as really good hand placement.

Former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has Joeckel ranked as his top underclassman:

Strong candidate for the first overall pick. Three-year starter at left tackle in the Big 12 and never red-shirted. A true height-weight-speed prospect who plays with good athleticism and body control. Will play early while he develops better hip and core strength. Good teammate too.

NFL.com compares Joeckel to Denver’s Ryan Clady:

A technician with an athletic build, Joeckel excels as a pass protector for the Aggies and displays enough of a temper in the run game to be one of the top picks in this draft class, and a long-time NFL starter at left tackle, especially as he continues to add bulk in an NFL strength and conditioning program.

AN EAGLES SLANT

While we still have a couple months before the draft, there seems to be a pretty good chance that Joeckel will be gone by the time the Eagles pick.

If he’s still on the board, Howie Roseman would have to give the athletic offensive tackle a long, hard look. Roseman has emphasized the Eagles’ focus on taking the best player available, regardless of position. Jason Peters recently turned 31 and is coming off an Achilles injury that sidelined him for all of the 2012 season. Todd Herremans is 30 and suffered a season-ending foot injury last year.

The expectation is for both guys to be healthy in 2013. If that happens, Herremans could swing back inside to guard (where he was more effective) and Joeckel could start his career out at right tackle. If Peters or Herremans were to suffer any setbacks, Joeckel would be available to fill in and potentially play at a high level.

It’s also worth noting that like Oregon, Texas A&M ran an up-tempo offense. The Aggies averaged 78.8 plays per game last season, while the Ducks averaged 81.5. In other words, if Chip Kelly brings that pace to the NFL, Joeckel would likely have a pretty easy time adjusting.

MOCK PROJECTIONS

Kiper has Joeckel going first to the Chiefs.

McShay has him falling to the Eagles at No. 4.

Tony Pauline of USA Today has Joeckel going No. 1.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has Joeckel falling to No. 4.

And Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has him going first.

VIDEO BREAKDOWNS

The guys over at DraftBreakdown.com do a great job with their video cut-ups. Below are condensed versions of Joeckel’s games against Alabama and LSU. Unfortunately, no All-22 of college games available to the public just yet (unless someone has a hook-up!).

I’m no scout, but a few plays that stood out. In the first video, check out how Joeckel picks up the stunt flawlessly at the 8:38 mark.

In the second video, you can see him out in space on a screen at the 2:00 mark. He does a nice job in the run game at 6:10 and gets to the second level at 7:37.

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  • Lemur

    Want

  • Bdawkbdawk

    If this guy is the best available- take him. But I just don’t understand the “Herremans should be back at guard” camp. When Reid finally moved Herremans to tackle, every analyst criticized Reid for waiting so long to make the move. Then, Herremans has two pretty average seasons in a reprisal of his college position and everyone wants him back inside. If Joeckel is an immediate or semi-immediate imporvement over Herremans than this would make sense. But some plan to get an unknown tackle to replace a decent tackle in order to improve the interior line sounds like a stretch. Good guards can be found late or in the scrap heap. So if this is ultimately to fill a need- then fill a different need. Because we need defensive help.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… Herremans has a tackle’s body. He has good feet. Questions: does he have enough left in the tank? Can he stay healthy? etc… not sure he’s still cutting it.

      • vtshocker

        yeah he’s showing signs of decline… i don’t want us to be griping about the O-line in 3 years the same way we are about the secondary now. We really need to be looking 3 years down the road on how we construct this team.

    • The Guru

      It’s not because Herremans can’t play tackle (although he is a better guard)….it’s because RG has been such a mess for 2 years that if you can find a RT, you can slide him into the RG slot.

      • Bdawkbdawk

        I don’t think RG is that hard to fill. Jake Scott was able to do it pretty well. I mean,it was just 2011 when Profootball focus graded us the 2nd best line in the league. If we had stayed healthy and substituted scott for watkins I think we would have been near the top again. I respect what many people are saying about Joekel, but with the small chance that he is a bust, and the fact that offensive tackles are still productive in their mid 30s, I just don’t see this as a position of need. If he is truly the best player on the board, go for it. but I don’t see this filling an immediate need.

        • The Guru

          Since Shawn Andrews, the RG position has seen: Nick Cole, Danny Watkins, Dennis Kelly, Jake Scott, Max Jean-Gilles and Mike McGlynn….

    • http://www.facebook.com/mitchell.binkley.3 Mitchell Binkley

      Yes I think it all comes down to if the coaching staff believes Joekel can be effective as right tackle until switching to left tackle later. I’m still a fan of Fisher myself so I like the idea of trading back

      • vtshocker

        They also would have the option of moving Peters to right tackle if he comes back and is only 80% of his former self. Heck i’d venture that even at 80% he’s better than 8 out of 10 guys playing the position at RT.

    • D3Keith

      I think it’s all about options.

      Peters, Herremans, Kelce are all recovering from injury. Joeckel would be a rookie adjusting to the league, but probably would start from Day 1. Mathis is the LG, while Watkins is probably first G off the bench, and Dunlap or Kelly are backup Ts.

      Three-fifths of the line is recovering from injury. 100 percent of it is new to Chip Kelly’s system.

      If we want to go run-heavy with McCoy and Brown (and we do), we want options. We don’t want the season derailed by an OL injury or two.

      I’m all in favor of drafting Joeckel or going OL in the first round. A monster OL gives Kelly’s offense a chance to be successful from jump, and validate the whole system and hire itself.

      • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

        I watched some tape of Oregon, their Offensive Line is active and coordinated. Chip seems intent on his linemen blowing holes in a spread out defense. If he can get that effort here the Eagles will be beautiful to watch.

        • ClydeSide

          Kelly once said that the most important people on the field are the offensive linemen. His teams block zone AND man. They pull guards, centers, and tackles. They trap and run counters. They sometimes even use two H backs and run power. They can run zone reads or power smashmouth. Then they run play action off of any of it–NOW THAT IS A THING OF BEAUTY.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Joeckel and Matthews can out play Herremans right now. These kids are good. As far as I can tell, Matthews was the better talent but Joeckel got the recognition. Alabama has two guards who are exceptional, I would be cool if we ended up with Chance Womack. Either addition to the Eagles vastly improves our offensive lines.

      • ClydeSide

        Womack doesn’t fit Kelly’s scheme.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      It’s because Peters – Mathis – Kelce – Herremans – Joeckel is a 5-man combo many fans would be eager to see the Eagles assemble.

      Not only should it improve the team right away, it gives them a promising future at the marquee LT position. Seems like a no-brainer.

    • Vtshocker

      we do need defensive help…but the only person i think worthy of the #4 spot would be Star. I have no issues if either he or Joeckel is the pick. This transition is going to take a good 3 years though… not sure how Herremans or Peters are going to A) recover from their injuries and B) how will they be playing in 3 years time when they are 34-35? Are they even on the team at that point? I’d venture a guess we have Peters if healthy another 3-4 years but Herremans has shown steady decline now 2 years so i think his time is numbered. Now is the time to put assets towards good solid O-line so that in 3 years they have all been battle tested… and more importantly learned on the job TOGETHER…. so much of having good O-line play is cohesiveness that comes with having guys play together for a significant amount of time. I’ve been on the trade back in the draft wagon for awhile now so i have no issues with going back as many times to acquire as many 2 rd draft picks as possible or possibly a 1st next year to guarantee we get the pick of the QB litter. I’d rather have 4 picks in the second round and take 3 DB’s and 1 OL (Long from Oregon at tackle, or Cooper from UNC at G)… I think the more picks in the 30-75 range the better we can fix all the holes we have.

  • brent

    i would have absolutely no qualms about taking this kid at number four

  • 3 Finger Lenny

    andy will gooble him up at #1

    • theycallmerob

      too large of a man to gobble. maybe a nibble, sure

  • eagles2zc

    Would be interesting to see his bench press number at the combine

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      I wouldn’t put much stock in that.

      • vtshocker

        agreed… especially long armed offensive lineman… bench press it benefits you to have short stocky arms… as long as they show adequate numbers I wouldn’t pay much attention to bench press for OL. I’m more inclined to look at the cone numbers as this shows their ability to get out in space, which Kelly is going to need for his system

  • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

    Makes no difference if we get Joeckel or Matthews, so long as the Eagles pluck one of the massive tackles at Texas A&M off the Board.

    • theycallmerob

      Matthews announced last month that he’s staying in school.
      As of now, the general NFL consensus is that Joeckel and Fisher (CMU) are the two best tackle prospects

  • Sensei

    There is absolutely no way the Eagles should pass on Joeckel or Star if they are available if they aren’t trading back may be a better option but Idk who teams would be trading up to acquire at that point

    • vtshocker

      there are definite spots in the draft where teams are going to try to leap up if its not too costly. Granted this is before free agency fixes how teams go about their drafts but i think at 4 we certainly can look to move the spot to Jets at 9 if they want to jump Cleve for a rush OLB or DE. Teams will be looking to move to 9 (to jump titans and dolphins for CB)… the early teens could see movement for teams looking to acquire the last of the 3 OT prospects or Chance Warmack. There will be some movement…just a matter how free agency and the combine play out now.

      • Sensei

        I’m sure some team will be willing to trade up for a mediocre qb it happens every year buy I’m not sure the Eagles should pull the trigger on moving back if youhave this high of a pick you have to draft a impact player as hopefully you wont be picking this high again anytime soon

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    I think Reid will take Geno Smith at #1 (the right move in my opinion). Then it will come down to sweating it out to see if any other teams trade into the #2 and 3 picks to get Joeckel. If those picks stay with Jacksonville and Oakland, I think Joeckel falls to the Birds.

    • vtshocker

      I think Andy is going to pull the trigger for Alex Smith and use #1 on Joeckel.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    lets get one of these for star

  • JofreyRice

    I’ve actually read from several people that Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher would be a better fit for a zone blocking system that Kelly runs, because of his nastiness and power on the move, and that Joeckel is the better “classic LT” that’s suited for a conventional QB dropping back 30-40 times per game, because of his technical ability. Can’t say I’ve watched much of Fisher, but I have watched Joeckel. He’s very impressive. If the pro comparison for Joeckel is Clady, than Fisher’s might be Joe Staley–great athletic move blocker.

    My only thing is, there are a lot of really good LTs on a lot of bad offenses, and there are a lot of good offenses with so-so left tackles; Green Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans all come to mind. To a certain extent, the Giants and Steelers won Superbowls with just average to poor LTs, as well. It seems to be a function of the QB and the scheme of the offense.

    If you’re running a run-heavy uptempo system with quick reads, bubble screens and inside/outside zone runs, are you getting your money’s worth with taking a tackle at #4? The best case for it is Washington’s Trent Williams, who really didn’t come on as the best LT in the NFC East until Griffin came to town. I’m not suggesting you can find LT’s on the scrap heap, but a top 5 pick? I dunno. Seems like a lot of the better ones in the league are very good scheme fits for what they’re asked to do, but don’t necessarily have a complete “Anthony Munoz” skillset–guys like Joe Staley, Duane Brown, or Sam Baker are all really good at pass blocking or run blocking, and that’s what they’re primarily doing, because of the scheme. Would the pick be better used in another way?

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    There is no way Reid doesn’t draft Joeckel.

  • 1972

    chip loves offense, he’ll probaly get joekel if he’s there

    safety 2nd rd

    cb/ or lb 3rd round. make it happen howie. i cant wait for the combine!