What better way to start off the player previews for me than with the man projected at #1 overall in the draft, Luke Joeckel. Joeckel was the left tackle on the offensive line for the 11-2 Texas A&M Aggies this past season and has impressed scouts with his technique, size (6′ 6″, 310 lbs.), and his quickness.
Now, I will evaluate him on these criteria: Size, Strength, Initial Quickness, Use of Hands, Overall technique, Run Blocking, and Pass Blocking.
One couldn’t really ask for more when it comes to size. As I said earlier. He’s 6′ 6″ and 310 lbs, which is pretty much exactly what NFL teams are looking for in a lineman coming out of college. He’ll probably put on a bit more when he gets to the NFL, and develop into a starting left tackle, protecting someone’s blindside. But for now, he’s about as perfect as it gets when it comes to size. 10.0/10.0
In the videos that I will post below, just watch Joeckel run block and you can see how strong he is. Now, I don’t know exactly how strong he is (i.e.: Bench/Squat/Clean maxes), but I’m betting we’re going to see a huge number go up when he drops under the bar at the Combine later this month. While he probably won’t beat 49 reps (the record set by Stephen Paea in 2011) we’ll probably see a number around the high thirties to mid forties, which will make teams very happy. 9.0/10.0
There’s not many people that get off the ball faster than Luke Joeckel. From what I could tell in the videos I have watched of him, Joeckel had the best get off on Texas A&M’s line. When A&M was passing (which is almost every play), Joeckel would be back waiting for his man to come at him in less than a second. Basically, if you blink when the ball is snapped, he’ll be in the backfield when you re-open your eyes. His quickness is also very evident in his run blocking. His quickness is one reason that he is such a great run blocker (which I will get into more detail later). All in all, very good initial quickness. 9.0/10.0
USE OF HANDS:
Joeckel is very good at getting his hands inside and locking onto his man, especially in run blocking. He has insanely quick hands and that is one of the best elements an offensive lineman can have. He also has a very powerful punch that really helps him when it comes to pass blocking and keeping whichever defensive lineman he is blocking away from his quarterback. The accuracy of his punches could use some work though. Joeckel sometimes swings and misses at defensive linemen and allows them to get past him to the quarterback. More detail on that later. 8.5/10.0
When it comes to technique, Joeckel is very polished. He gets inside with his hands, puts his head on the lineman’s chest when he’s run blocking, he sits in his chair and punches at the d-linemen when they come at him. He does stand a little bit too tall when he pass blocks and sometimes he’s too far back on his heels. He will also need to become comfortable in a 3-point stance again when he makes the jump to the NFL, as most of A&M’s formations had him in a 2-point stance. So, overall, good technique, but not great. 8.5/10.0
This is where Luke Joeckel excels as an offensive lineman. Joeckel is one of the best run blockers I have seen in years. Any time A&M ran the ball, Joeckel was locked up, driving his man at least 5-7 yards down the field. That is exactly what you look for in a run blocker. As I said in the technique section above, Joeckel punches quickly and hard, gets his hands inside, puts his head in the lineman’s chest and drives him down the field. Joeckel is also extremely good at getting to the second level fast, when his assignment calls for that, and blocking linebackers to create more room for his running back or quarterback. He also has one hell of a reach block. In the LSU game, Joeckel was the reason that his running back got free and got a first down on a stretch run. He got all the way around his d-lineman and made himself a wall between the lineman and the running back. His run blocking is ready for NFL defensive linemen. 9.5/10.0
It really is too bad that the NFL is not really a running league anymore. If it was, this section wouldn’t mean as much as it does. When it comes to Joeckel’s pass blocking, I believe that there is a TON of room for improvement. Throughout the videos I watched, I saw Joeckel get beat countless times when he was pass blocking. He is very susceptible to rips, swims, spins, and basically any move, including a bull rush when he is pass blocking. I probably at most five good pass blocks and maybe 2 great pass blocks by Joeckel in the Florida and LSU games. I know those are great defenses with great defensive ends and linebackers, but a tackle who is being considered for the top overall pick in the draft should be able to keep those guys under control and Joeckel really wasn’t. He was on his heels all the time, he swings and misses with punches, and I even saw him give up after he got beat once and let Johnny Manziel get sacked. He was also helped out a ton by Manziel’s scrambling ability. Manziel would usually scramble to the right, and since Joeckel was the left tackle, the defensive end that beat him didn’t have the speed or time to get to Manziel. But in the NFL, which is a pocket passing league, that will translate to sacks and that is not good for Mr. Joeckel. 7.0/10.0
AVERAGE SCORE: 8.79/10.00
Honestly, I can see Luke Joeckel as a first rounder, but I would not take him with the Number One overall pick. And it’s because of his pass blocking. The NFL is a passing league. That has become very evident over the past few years with how many quarterbacks are throwing for over 5,000 yards. Now, that’s not going to happen in Kansas City, barring a miracle, anytime soon, but still, a possible starting left tackle needs to be the best pass blocker on the line and Joeckel is nowhere near that. I think Joeckel would fit great with the Philadelphia Eagles in Chip Kelly’s system. In that system, if he has to pass block, it won’t be for very long and he’ll probably get to run block more than most teams in the league. Do I think he’ll be there when Philadelphia gets to pick on the 25th? Hopefully, but probably not. KC will probably fall in love with his strength and size and since they need basically everything, and there’s not really a franchise QB in this draft, they’ll probably pick him number one overall.
Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments and follow me on Twitter! @J_Vinton52
Tomorrow I’ll be profiling Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State!