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Jaguars hope Joeckel can be cornerstone RIGHT tackle for many yearsJaguars select offensive tackle Luke Joeckel with No. 2 pick in NFL Draft
Posted: April 25, 2013 - 7:09pm | Updated: April 26, 2013 - 9:05am
By Ryan O'Halloran
NEW YORK | For months leading into Thursday’s NFL Draft, Luke Joeckel not only saw his name headlining the offensive line rankings but as the top pick in the overall projections.
Already in Manhattan with nearly 25 family and friends, Joeckel saw reports the Kansas City Chiefs were leaning toward Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher. And it stung.
“There was some anger,” Joeckel said. “Everybody here is fighting to be that first pick and I’m a competitor and wanted it.”
The Jaguars hope that motivation translates into him playing like a cornerstone right tackle for many years.
After the Chiefs selected Fisher, the Jaguars drafted Joeckel of Texas A&M with the second pick – the first time in league history offensive linemen have went first and second.
“Not going [No. 1] is going to drive me even more and put a chip on my shoulder,” Joeckel said.
What the Jaguars are getting is a tackle that is equal parts effective as a run and pass blocker, never missed a game in college and handled the SEC’s top pass rushers last year with little-to-no double-team help.
Joeckel, a three-year starter at left tackle for the Aggies, is expected to move to right tackle for the Jaguars. He heard from general manager Dave Caldwell, coach Gus Bradley and owner Shad Khan before joining Roger Goodell on the Radio City Music Hall stage for a photo opportunity with the Jaguars’ new teal jersey.
Joeckel didn’t have to wait long but there was still a sense of relief.
“I was really happy when I saw the Florida area code on my phone,” he said.
Florida will be Joeckel’s next stop – he will fly to Jacksonville Friday morning on one of Khan’s private planes to be introduced to more of the local media at EverBank Field.
Joeckel visited the Jaguars earlier this month on the same day they hosted Fisher and linebacker Dion Jordan, who was drafted No. 3 by Miami.
While at EverBank Field, Joeckel said he was impressed by Bradley’s enthusiasm and intrigued by joining a franchise that hit the refresh button earlier this off-season after going 2-14.
“I was able to experience that with coach [Kevin] Sumlin last year in college and you see what we did,” Joeckel said. “This process, with Coach Bradley and how much energy he brings and his style, it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
His first two years as a starter, Joeckel played in the pro style system of coach Mike Sherman.
Sherman was fired and replaced by Sumlin, who brought the spread offense with him from the University of Houston that required Joeckel to ignore the traditional three-point stance and consistent running game.
But playing for a new coach in a new system and in a new conference (the Big 12 to the SEC) didn’t deter Joeckel, who was dominant and left college a year early.
“Luke Joeckel is the consummate professional,” Sumlin said in a statement. “Luke is a strong, physical player with great technical skills. He started every game of his Aggie career at left tackle and did a fantastic job.”
Joeckel said he played right tackle for two years in high school but more importantly, practiced right-side pass sets during the pre-draft process just in case he was asked to switch positions.
“I knew knowing right and left tackle would make me attractive to more teams,” he said. “It’s going to be a little bit different at first. But I’m a technician and I’m not going to accept anything but being totally comfortable there by the first game.”
Buying it? Not sure. That might be the ideal plan, though Joeckel gives them insurance in case Monroe's extension demands are outrageous.
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