These words almost say it all:
If the world ends tomorrow, Luke Joeckel will be the best pass blocking left tackle I've ever scouted. #NFLDraft
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 21, 2012
Bleacher Report’s own Matt Miller has Luke Joeckel ranked No. 1 overall on his final big board.
Joeckel was a three-year starter for the Aggies and helped protect last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel before foregoing his senior year to enter the draft. This rare talent may not have the sexy athletic numbers that other top-rated left tackles have, but his true athleticism shows up in his ridiculous ability to mirror pass-rushers with elite footwork and the best kick-slide I’ve ever seen.
Where Joeckel truly separates himself from the pack is in his unique combination of foot speed and the ability anchor in against power-rushers.
Joeckel should be able to step in right away as a starting left tackle and perform at a very high level. He has all the makings of a 10-year starter with at least a few Pro Bowls in between.
Though Joeckel may not have the highest ceiling of the tackle prospects, he certainly has the highest floor. At a minimum we can expect solid play for several years out of Joeckel, as he’s by far the most NFL-ready player in this draft.
Hall of Fame potential is not a far-fetched concept when looking at what he brings to the table. At 6’6”, 310 lbs and with 34-inch arms, he’s remarkably light on his feet when he needs to be.
He did seem to lack a finishing mentality and overall nastiness to his game. This is common with guys who are as technically sound as Joeckel, considering the amount of control needed to play within the confines of his coaching.
Joeckel is as low-risk of a pick as it comes in regards to bust potential. The biggest risk you take when drafting a guy like Jeckel comes in assessing opportunity cost. In other words, when we look back on this class in five years, we’ll never be referring to Luke Joeckel as one of the most impactful players in this draft.
Joeckel should step in right away at either right or left tackle. It should be interesting to see how the Jaguars pair having Eugene Monroe and Luke Joeckel on the same team. Monroe is already considered one of the best left tackles in the league.
This could mean Monroe becomes the bait for a trade later on in the first round.
In a draft class as thin and unpredictable at the top as this one, it’s hard to really knock Jacksonville for taking the most dependable and NFL-ready guy in his class. It’s clear that he was the best player available on the Jaguars' board and they stuck to it.
Hindsight will never look to this pick as a bust. He should provide affordable value to a key offensive position the next few years and do it at a very high level.
The Jaguars should be asking themselves: Who are we passing up that is going to set the league on fire? Because, rest assured, there will be one or two of those big impact guys in this draft. That concept, more than any other, constitutes the biggest risk in picking such a hard-working, high-character, physically gifted kid you can build around.
Grade: C- (safe, reliable, low-risk/low-impact selection)
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