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Jan 4, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas A

2013 NFL Draft One to Watch: OT Luke Joeckel

Born on November 6th, 1991 in Arlington, Texas- a state where  football is more than a sport, it’s like a religion. Luke Joeckel, at 6ft 6 inches and 310 lbs was an All-State offensive lineman when he attended Arlington High School. Playing football on the same team as his twin brother Matt who happened to be their quarterback (also at Texas A&M), he was the strong point of their offensive line.

His older brother David played offensive line at DePauw University, a Division 3 school located in Greencastle, Indiana. His Grandfather (Reece Washington) and Father (Dave Joeckel) also have some playing time under their belts, his Grandfather who played tight end for Texas Tech and his Father who was a 4 year letter man and 3 year starter as an offensive lineman also played at Texas Tech from 1979-1982. He grew up a Red Raiders fan but eventually enrolled at Texas A&M in January of 2010. Other offers he received scholarships for include, Alabama, Louisiana State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

The 21 year old offensive tackle has started for the Aggies since he was a true freshman back in 2010. He started all 13 games at left tackle for his entire 3 year college stint, in which he won Freshman All-American, All-Big 12 honors and recently won the 2012 Outland trophy which is awarded to the best college football interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America.

In his first year, the Aggies averaged over 165 rushing yards a game which featured 9 100 yard rushing games. In his sophomore year he was a part of a line that only allowed 9 sacks in 13 games, where they set school records for 490 yards per game, 291 passing yards per game and 39 points per game on offense, where his quarterback was Ryan Tannehill.

This being the first year in a new conference, transferring from the Big 12 to the SEC, the Aggies rolled to a 11-2 record which lead them to the Cotton Bowl on January 4th against #11 Oklahoma in Luke’s home town of Arlington Texas where they won, easily. Lead by a red shirt freshman and Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel, Joeckel and the rest of the line showed to be one of the most conditioned lines in the country. The offensive lead the SEC with 5.6 yards a rush, which showed they had some push upfront.

Luke was asked how it was to adjust from blocking for (Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill) a pocket passer, to protect a guy who is so elusive:

“It’s hard to protect for someone you have no idea where he is, you kind of got to watch the defenders eyes. You turn around every once in awhile, he’s got 3 guys around him and you try to go pick somebody off and then he’ll do a jump side arm pass for a touchdown so, he’s a fun guy to block for.” – via College Football Awards on ESPN.

Protecting for a quarterback like Manziel, who I think could possibly be a first round pick in the future, but let’s talk about him when that time comes, can take some adjusting. Joeckel showed he was able to adjust pretty quickly, showing great foot work, frame work and agility for an offensive lineman. He is probably the best offensive lineman coming out of his class and myself and a few fellow writers believe he is a #1 pick.

I wrote a piece back on February 5th on the Top 5 offensive linemen coming into the 2013 NFL Draft (if you haven’t seen it, check it out), and the subject of this piece you are reading right now was at the top of my list. Mentioning good pass rushing protection and good work when it came to run blocking. Watching tape on this kid, I have noticed a few times on rushing plays, where he has stuck his block and drove the defender 7-8 yards down the field.  I can’t get over the beautiful frame work this kid has and the ability to take on the defense, sticking one block, winning it and picking up a 2nd defender, giving his quarterback time to work. This man is a work horse.

If the Kansas City Chiefs do in fact select Luke Joeckel 1st over all in the draft, this could be the piece they need to help build their offense. We are aware they need a quarterback, but you can’t have a productive and healthy quarterback if you don’t have a line that can protect him or else you are just playing Russian roulette just to get an extra couple points on the board at the end of the game.

It all starts on the offensive line. We have seen the type of play Manziel had this season and yes,he is fast, but if it wasn’t for his line helping him out, who knows what he would have been able to do. Players like Joeckel make me proud, being a former offensive lineman myself. We pride ourselves on hard work and protecting our team mates in the backfield. So how will Luke Joeckel do in the NFL? I think he is going to make his offensive line coach and coordinator very happy and do just fine in this league.

Want more NFL Draft One to Watch? Visit the rest of website and check out other pieces on this subject that were published by my colleagues here at NFL Spin Zone.

Tags: Luke Joeckel NFL Draft Ryan Tannehill

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