Jacksonville Jaguars

Luke Joeckel to Jaguars: How Does OT Fit with Jacksonville?

April 26, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (left) , offensive lineman Luke Joeckel (second from left) , general manager Dave Caldwell (second from right) and head coach Gus Bradley pose for a picture after a press conference held at Everbank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
Brad HillContributor IApril 26, 2013

There are many people who feel like the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to get the best player in the 2013 NFL draft with the second overall pick. I am not one of those people, but you can read more about that in my draft tracker. This article isn't about that.

Joeckel is a technically sound offensive tackle that is solid blocking in both the running and passing game. Many evaluators feel he is a better pass-blocker than run-blocker, but he is essentially an offensive tackle with little to no weaknesses.

The Jaguars just obtained a player who spent last season blocking Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's blind side, and spent the previous season blocking 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannnehill's blind side. He's tough, experienced and stable. He's a "safe" pick from first-time general manager Dave Caldwell. Solid player, but not necessarily a solid pick.

 

Role

Joeckel will be a day-one starter at the right tackle position. He stabilizes a position that has been in turmoil ever since Eben Britton's fall from grace. The Jaguars believe Blaine Gabbert's only hope of development is tied to giving him more time to throw, and Joeckel will definitely help in that respect.

Guy Whimper and Cameron Bradfield were simply not cutting it. The Jaguars felt like they needed a long-term solution at the right tackle position. Joeckel is one of the "cleanest" prospects in this draft, meaning the chances he turns out to be a bust are fairly low.

Another upside of this pick is that Joeckel also becomes the backup at the left tackle position. If anything happens to Eugene Monroe, Joeckel would be able to easily slide over to the left side without missing a beat.

The logic behind this pick has to stem from the presence of J.J. Watt in the AFC South. Allowing Watt to match up against Guy Whimper is a great way to lose games and get your quarterback killed. If Joeckel can help neutralize Watt, the Jaguars are in a good spot.

One potential downside of this pick is the potential for it to negatively affect Eugene Monroe's tenure with the Jaguars. Monroe is in the final year of his contract, and if the Jaguars are smart, he will absolutely be extended. If Joeckel was drafted to play left tackle long-term, it's a bit better pick, but if it costs the Jaguars Monroe, it negates any positive value his selection provides. It would be worse for the Jaguars to let Monroe walk and move Joeckel to the left side than if Joeckel was simply drafted to play right tackle.

 

Early Projections

I only expect Joeckel to miss snaps this year if he gets injured. Otherwise, he should spend every snap of the season at right tackle. If Monroe were to get injured, he could easily slide over to the left tackle position, but ideally he will spend the 2013 season at right tackle.

I don't expect any actual statistics from Joeckel, but do believe he'll finish in the top half of Pro Football Focus' right tackle rankings, which would likely slot him within the top 30 overall among offensive tackles. If he does pan out as expected, the Jaguars could potentially have a top-10 player in the league at both left and right tackle.

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