Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel surprised absolutely nobody when he declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft. Joeckel has proven everything he needs to as a collegiate player, making himself an elite prospect in the eyes of pro teams.
Joeckel spent his junior year protecting the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. The left tackle was dominating even against the elite competition that the SEC provides, showing he can handle both power and speed off the edge consistently.
- Joeckel has the technique to play at the next level right now. Many young offensive and defensive linemen come into the league with adjustments needed to their footwork. The team that drafts Joeckel doesn't need to worry about making those normal fixes.
- His best asset is the ability to control pass-rushers. Joeckel is a mountain of a man at 6'6'' and 310 pounds with long arms, helping him to neutralize top talent on the other side. Joeckel is also quite strong and can handle the bullrush, something that isn't easy for taller players with a higher center of gravity.
- For his size, Joeckel has the incredible ability to get out in space. Joeckel isn't a great run blocker in a phone booth, but once Joeckel pulls and gets out to the second level, he's a force.
- As previously stated, Joeckel struggles to create holes for his running backs at the line of scrimmage. If Kansas City were to draft Joeckel, this would be a major issue with Jamaal Charles easily the focal point of the offense.
- Due to his height, Joeckel can get caught once in a while with his shoulders a bit high. When Joeckel bends correctly and gets low, he's almost impossible to move. However, the Aggie can be jacked up occasionally by smaller men who can get lower, another correctable issue.
- In fairness, this one isn't as much a con as a question. How well will Joeckel adjust to a pro style offense? Almost every lineman has to answer this question, but it remains fair. Going from the spread to a pro-style system changes blocking schemes and asks lineman to hold blocks longer.
Video Breakdown via YouTube and JPDraftJedi:
- Scouting report via FFToolbox.com:
Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel is currently considered the premiere offensive tackle prospect in the country. Almost universally ranked as the best prospect at his position, Joeckel has paved the way for the Aggies to have one of their best seasons in years, which was particularly impressive for their first year in the SEC.
Joeckel is a prototypical left tackle with choppy, fast feet. Not an especially powerful blocker, but has plus athleticism that can seal the edge against speed rushers. Great positioning and plays the angles well. Excellent in blitz pickup. Finds the extra man with his eyes and is consistently looking for stunts and twists.
Good, but not great in run blocking. Shows good fundamentals in his technique. Plays with a natural knee-bend, doesn't lose his balance, and keeps his feet active. Not a great drive blocker due to below-average hand positioning and so-so strength. Could benefit from playing in a zone blocking scheme where he can get out to a spot and use his forward momentum to gain positioning.
Joeckel has an aggressive, yet under control style of play. Still has room to add some weight and will need to work hard in the gym to add power through his core and lower body.
- Scouting report by Rob Rang via CBSSports.com:
STRENGTHS: Possesses the prototypical build for today's left tackles with a relatively lean, tapered build, long arms and a thick lower half.
Smooth out of his stance in pass protection. Eases back and catches the defender easily, showing excellent lateral agility and balance to handle speed and counter-moves, as well as the core strength to absorb the bull rush.
Plays with excellent fundamentals. Keeps his knees bent, butt down and both his head and hands up. Alert. Recognizes stunts and zone-blitzes efficiently and without panic.
Demonstrates rare poise when initially beaten, showing a late burst and quick, strong hands to recover rather than simply become a turn-stile. Quick off the snap when run-blocking, demonstrating not only the burst to gain the advantage over defensive linemen in short-yardage situations but the mobility to get to and block effectively at the second level.
Keeps his hands inside the defenders' chest plate and keeps his feet moving on contact, generating legal blocks with great effectiveness. Quick, effective cut-blocker.
Durable. Started all 37 games of his collegiate career, each at left tackle.
WEAKNESSES: Played with greater physicality in 2012, though he could still show a little more nastiness, allowing defenders to ease from his grasp after he has made the initial block rather than finishing the block to completely eliminate his opponent.
Will occasionally allow his hands to slip to the side or lower back of the defender when blocking on the move, though he shows good recognition to ease up when doing so to not draw the flag.
Nitpicking, but it deserves mention that Joeckel was protected a bit by blocking for two mobile quarterbacks (Ryan Tannehill, Johnny Manziel) over the past two years and therefore pass rushers may have had some containment responsibilities and not rushed upfield quite as feverishly as they would against a more stationary target.
COMPARES TO: Joe Thomas Cleveland Browns -- Like the Browns' star left tackle, Joeckel boasts a combination of size, strength and athleticism that will one day result in All-Pro status.
- Joeckel won the Outland Trophy in 2012, which is given to the best collegiate lineman.
- Consensus All-American in 2012
Joeckel is the rare young man who does not have a twitter account.
Joeckel is a very good prospect who picked the perfect year to come out of school. The lineman would have been a top 10 pick in most years, but this might be the time he could be the No. 1 overall pick. It would still be somewhat surprising if the Kansas City Chiefs drafted him, but it wouldn't be stunning.