The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock. As of right now, the Chiefs have the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday at 7:00 p.m. CDT. Kansas City, if they retain that pick, must decide whom they will select. It is common belief the Chiefs will choose to go with a left tackle, either Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M, or Eric Fisher from Central Michigan.
Luke Joeckel is 6’6″, 306 pounds. He was given honorable mention in the Big 12 after his 2010 campaign, and was bumped up to Second-Team All-Big 12 the following season. After Texas A&M moved to the SEC for the 2012 season, Joeckel dominated that conference as well, earning First Team All-SEC honors, plus was named a First Team All-American. He was also awarded the Outland Trophy for the best collegiate lineman.
According to nfl.com, Joeckel could be a starter for many years.
A technician with an athletic build, Joeckel excels as a pass protector for the Aggies and displays enough of a temper in the run game to be one of the top picks in this draft class, and a long-time NFL starter at left tackle, especially as he continues to add bulk in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
They also note he lacks ideal upper and lower body strength and he can struggle with the upper tier defensive ends, but he does have quick feet and good balance.
Rob Rang from cbssports.com points out that Joeckel was very durable for the Aggies, starting all 37 games of his career at left tackle. Rang offered the following look at Joeckel’s skills:
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.
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.
Rang also makes a very valid point that Joeckel blocked for very mobile quarterbacks at A&M, and his skills at holding off pass rushers focused on a pocket passer are not as polished as may be needed in the NFL.
Charlie Campbell from walterfootball.com lists 25 strengths in his scouting report, including athleticism, quickness, durability, and immediate NFL readiness, but lists only 2 weaknesses: needs more strength for the power ground game, and allows inside pressure.
He has very few weaknesses and his combination of blocking ability and understanding of the offensive line and defensive schemes is a scary thing for his opponents. Joeckel is going to be a force to be reckoned with and he’s going to make some NFL quarterback very happy.
Sanchez listed 18 strengths in his scouting reports, including how Joeckel recognizes blitzes, is rarely fooled by pass rushers, and is conscious of his quarterback, and only 4 weaknesses, including the need to improve his hand work and strength, moves a little flat-footed, and can overextend at times.
All in all, it is obvious Luke Joeckel has the skill to be an immediate starter at left tackle in the NFL. Scouts seems to agree he has many polished strengths and his weaknesses are few and correctable by strengthening and coaching. It is a worrisome that he has little experience in blocking for pocket passers. In the NFL, even the most mobile quarterbacks tend to spend more time in the pocket than out of it. His run blocking technique should be fitted well for the Chiefs considering they are not so much a power sort of running team. With new head coach Andy Reid at the helm this season, it is almost certain Kansas City will pass more in 2013 so having that blind side protection will be essential. Joeckel’s experience playing against the best defensive players in college football will also be a bid key to him being ready to play right away. Three years of working in the trenches in the Big 12 and SEC is immeasurably valuable.
It would be surprising if the Chiefs don’t select one of the tackles with the first overall pick, if they don’t trade out of that pick. A team can never have a enough good offensive linemen. Disgruntled left tackle Branden Albert has all but burnt his bridges with the Chiefs so they will most certainly select either Joeckel or Fisher. Seems like a win-win for Kansas City.