(Revised 4/26/13; see revision below)
This is simply a terrible use of draft equity. Drafting a right tackle with the second pick is an irresponsible selection and a VERY poor start for Dave Caldwell as the General Manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Is Joeckel a good prospect? Sure. He's a very solid offensive tackle. He's a "safe" pick. However, there's no such thing as a "safe" prospect. Joeckel will start from day one at right tackle, but the Jaguars just spent the second pick on a position that has had multiple solid starters available in free agency for most of the offseason.
The main impact of this pick is that either Eugene Monroe is headed out of town after this season (would be a huge mistake) or Luke Joeckel will be playing right tackle long-term, which is a poor use of value.
The best pick for the Jaguars was a trade down to someone who wanted Luke Joeckel. I cannot imagine there wasn't a trade market for Joeckel, and even taking a below-value trade would've been a superior option to taking an offensive tackle with the second pick.
Now let's look at the player. Joeckel is a very, very solid blocker both in the run game and the passing game. He has prototypical tackle measurables and should be a very solid addition to the Jaguars' offensive line. Jacksonville now has two very solid offensive tackles, and their offensive line should be much improved in 2013. It's hard to look at this pick as anything but a scared pick.
There is one scenario in which I can see this pick making sense: Dave Caldwell is calling everyone's bluff. Perhaps he was lowballed by teams who thought he would pass and they could trade with Oakland instead. In that case, perhaps he said "I will take Joeckel, and if you want him you can come get him." If that is the case, I reserve the right to change this grade, but for now...
Pick grade: F-
The grade for this pick had to be in within 15 minutes of the pick. Over the course of the offseason and the entire pre-draft process, I had convinced myself Caldwell would go with a flashy, difference-making defensive player or a potential franchise quarterback with the second overall pick. There's a lot of emotion tied to your team's first-round pick, especially when it's as high as the Jaguars' pick this season.
When Luke Joeckel was announced as the pick, I was extremely disappointed. I didn't think the right tackle spot had that kind of value, especially with solid starters at the position sitting on the free agent wire. I was mad. The immediacy of the pick elicited a very negative response. I recall smashing the "F-" into the keyboard while still extremely upset with the pick. I didn't have time to really think about it because I hadn't already considered it as a real possibility until it happened, as you can see very clearly from my tweet:
As the first round progressed, I started to regret the grade more and more. First off, the Jaguars got an outstanding offensive tackle. F- is a grade that probably should be reserved for a player that punches a cop or commits domestic violence.
Second, some of the offensive linemen that went off the board in the later part of the first round were players I thought were second or even third-round picks. Players like Justin Pugh, Travis Frederick, and Kyle Long in the first? The run on offensive linemen pushed talent at other positions down the board, leaving some really good players for Caldwell and the Jaguars in the second round.
Third, right tackle and left tackle don't have as big of a value split as they have in previous years. The Jaguars' right tackle is going to have to face J. J. Watt, Robert Mathis, and Derrick Morgan six times a year; having a good player instead of an average one could definitely be an plus.
With the advantage of time to think about it, I should've given the pick a better grade. I still am not a huge fan of taking a tackle with the second overall pick, and still would've preferred Dion Jordan or the deal Miami made with Oakland, but Luke Joeckel definitely deserves a passing grade.
Revised Pick Grade: C+