Luke Joeckel Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Texas A&M OT
First Round, Second Pick
One of the most coveted talents in the 2012 Draft, Joeckel’s future as a top selection was cemented almost the moment he stepped on campus at Texas A&M. A three-year starter who grabbed the left tackle job as a true freshman, Joeckel figures to enter the NFL as an immediate contributor and potential bookend tackle.
+ Athletic in pass protection with great mirror ability
+ Uses hip flexibility to his advantage
+ Good effort and plays through the whistle
- Soft hands, lacks functional upper body strength
- Lets his hands get outside the defender’s frame too often
- Not a dominating drive blocker
Best Team Fits
KC, DET, AZ
Tools ( + )
A long, lean offensive tackle whose frame is still filling out, Joeckel shares many physical similarities with former Virginia products D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Eugene Monroe coming out of college. Like Ferguson and Monroe, Joeckel desperately needs to hit an NFL weight room and continue adding strength and bulk. But his short-area quickness is very apparent, manifesting itself with a 7.40 time in the 3-cone drill (good for fourth amongst offensive linemen at the NFL combine).
Joeckel has no known character issues. He graduated high school early to enroll early at Texas A&M.
This year, Joeckel played in an up-tempo, no-huddle spread system. He was afforded the benefit of playing exclusively from a two-point stance and with a great scrambling quarterback who was adept at escaping pressure and extending plays. Previously, Joeckel played in a more traditional west coast system under former head coach and current Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman. Both systems featured zone-blocking concepts in the run game.
Pass Blocking ( + )
A “dancing bear” in every sense of the word, Joeckel’s light feet and athleticism should allow him to step in and be an above-average pass protector fairly early in his career. He shows the ability to get into either quick or deep-pass set immediately off the snap, and is excellent at diagnosing twists, stunts and blitzes from the defense. On deeper pass sets, he has a tendency to overplay the speed rush and give up the inside, although he improved on power-stepping down and sealing off the inside rush lane as the season progressed.
Run Blocking ( + )
More a position blocker than a dominating drive blocker, Joeckel’s athleticism was married perfectly with the Aggies’ zone-run schemes (promoting lateral agility and athleticism over brute strength) over the past few years.
Joeckel fires out of his stance quickly, getting on top of linebackers on the second level immediately off the snap, and consistently gets his man on the ground when cutting from the backside. He also shows the ability to consistently reach his man when on the play-side.
However, his lack of upper body strength can get him pushed into the backfield and allow defensive linemen to shed him a bit too easily. However, he has more than adequate strength to help move defenders off the line of scrimmage on double-teams. A high-effort player, Joeckelisn’t content with making initial contact – he tries his best to maintain his block through the whistle.
Blocking In Space/ Recovery ( + )
While he could improve slightly on tracking moving targets, Joeckel usually gets to linebackers on the second level before they have a chance to react. He shows the athleticism to get out in front and lead runners on screen passes.
Hand-fighting/Technique ( + )
Joeckel’s pad level and surge off the ball are impressive. However, his lack of upper body strength shows up in his punch and extension, and he can lose the hand battle against stronger defensive linemen.
He also has a tendency to overset against speed, getting his shoulders turned off the snap and ceding the inside rush lane. These issues are fixable with time, but speed-to-power rushers who can create space off the bullrush will likely give him problems early on.
Joeckel is a surefire top pick in this draft who will undoubtedly be asked to step in immediately at left tackle for an NFL franchise. His skill set lends itself to being most successful in a run system that utilizes heavy zone-blocking principles (much like he did in college), and his quick feet and mirror skills will make him one of the best pass protectors in the league within his first few seasons.
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