Monday, December 17, 2012

Prospect Profile: OT Luke Joeckel - Texas A&M

Texas A&M Profile

Name:  Luke Joeckel
Height:  6' - 6"     
Weight:  310 lbs.
Class:  Junior
Roster Years:  2010 - 2012
Hometown:  Arlington, Texas   
Date of Birth:  November 6th, 1991 (21 years old)
Last School:  Arlington High School (Arlington, TX)

Texas A&M Statistics:  
2012 (J.):  1st Team All-SEC (Media) Honors.  Earned Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman beating out Alabama C Barrett Jones and North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper.  Earned Jacobs Blocking Trophy which is given annually to the top blocker in the SEC.  The Aggies generated 400+ yards in total offense a school record 11 straight games, including six-600 yards efforts.  All of this while Texas A&M competed in the SEC for their first season.  Helped protect and lead Freshman QB Johnny Manziel to a Heisman Trophy as well.  Nationally, the Aggies ranked No. 3 in total offense with 552 yards/gm and No. 4 in scoring/gm at 44.8 points/gm.  Showed incredible endurance as A&M averaged nearly 80 offensive plays per game.

2011 (So.):  1st Team All-Big 12 AP Honors.  Part of an Aggie OL that allowed only 9 sacks all season.  Also helped Aggie Offense to set school records for total passing yards and scoring in 13 games.  Offense averaged 490 yards/gm in total offense, including 291 passing yards and 39.1 points/gm.  Aggies rushed for 199.2 yards/gm.  Aggie offense ranked in top 25 in all four major stat categories.

2010 (Fr.):  Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and named to ESPN's All-Big 12 Freshman Team.  Started all 13 games at Left Tackle.  Offense rushed for 165.8 yards/gm and featured a 100-yd rusher in 9 of those games.

Junior Year (2012) Highlights:

Sophomore Year (2011) Highlights:

Positives (+):
+ Size and athleticism
Ability to maintain engagement on blocks
Active feet
Effort and motor
2nd level blocking and ability to block out on the corners
Strong in pass pro at the point of attack, especially vs. the bullrush
Pass pro demonstrates proper balance and footwork
Moves very well laterally
Game smarts, recognizes blitzes/stunts quickly and is fluid in switch protection
Has the skill set to transition to the NFL as a strong Zone Blocking Scheme tackle

Negatives (-):
- Can play with a slightly high pad level
Kickstep in pass pro can get lazy and sluggish
Occasionally susceptible to speed rushers to the outside in pass pro
Vulnerable to Wide 9 technique pass rushers
Needs to improve his depth of pass pro drop on speed rushers out on the wing
Hands aren't the heaviest, defenders often swat away his initial punch
Lacks ideal size (weight) and explosion to be a feature tackle in a Power Blocking Scheme

General Predictions: In a proper Zone Blocking Scheme and some time, Joeckel could excel as a left tackle at the NFL level.  He is still a very young 21 years old and continues to grow into his frame.  Perhaps, with his athleticism and ability he could gain strength and power to become a standout player at RT in all NFL schemes, but the general consensus is that he'll be pro ready to play tackle at the NFL level in an active ZBS.

NFL Draft Outlook:
Luke Joeckel is the consensus No. 1 Offensive Line prospect in the 2012 Draft (should he officially declare).  While a lock as a Top 10 pick, he could go No. 1 Overall to a number of teams looking for a bookend Left Tackle for the next decade.

Atop the 2012 Draft Order at the moment, you'll find the following:

1) Kansas City Chiefs
2) Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Oakland Raiders
4) Philadelphia Eagles
5) Tennessee Titans
6) Detroit Lions
7) San Diego Chargers
8) Cleveland Browns
9) Buffalo Bills
10) Carolina Panthers

Of these teams I think the Eagles or the Chargers may be looking to secure the services of a top pass protector for this draft.  Could that mean trading up?  We'll see.  It is also possible, as badly as the Chiefs need to Draft and groom a QB for their future, they may be thinking that taking Joeckel could be their best bet with that pick.  That would put KC in the driver's seat in getting a trade down to give up Joeckel's services in favor of their QB a little later in the Top 10, or selecting another Best Player Available of their liking.  As for Oakland picking Joeckel at No. 3 outright, it's a possibility.  However, in a division with Peyton Manning...and in a Conference with Roethlisberger, Brady, Schaub and now Andrew Luck...they're going to need somebody to either a) Cover or b) Rush the Passer.  While Joeckel could help secure the bookends in Oakland for the forseeable future, they might be looking for defensive help.  This doesn't mean, however, that the Raiders can't threaten to pick him should Joeckel fall to No. 3 Overall.  Should KC and JAX pass on Joeckel, it would make for a more attractive trade scenario with those teams looking for an OT at the Top of the Draft.  It'll be a bit less expensive.

The influence of having Head Coach Dennis Allen, a former Texas A&M Aggie, and Terrell Williams, current Defensive Line coach, and also a former Texas A&M Coach, might play something into the decision.  A&M players are typically known for their unselfishness, their ability to work hard and be good teammates, and their intelligence.  These traits do indeed sing to the wants and needs of new General Manager Reggie McKenzie, and his quest to build a deep, tough, smart, physical ball club in Oakland.

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