Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel Should be No. 1 Pick in NFL Draft

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M left tackle and Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel announced on Tuesday that he is declaring for the NFL draft and should be the top pick of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Joeckel protected the blindside of Heisman trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel all season long and gave him ample time to stand in the pocket and deliver strikes to receivers and opened rushing lanes for him to lead the SEC in rushing.

The Chiefs clearly need an upgrade at quarterback, but with no player worthy of being selected that high the team should take the 6-6 305-pound left tackle to be in place to protect the franchise quarterback that may be taken later in the draft.

Perhaps new head coach Andy Reid likes Matt Barkley and trades back into the first round to take the former USC signal caller. Having Joeckel in place will make the transition for Barkley or whoever is taking snaps from center that much easier knowing his blindside will be protected.

Joeckel is a very smart and left tackle with exceptional field awareness and has started since his freshmen year.  He plays with an aggressive and relentless motor while displaying nice athleticism, quick feet and balance with prototypical size for a left tackle, but could stand to add some bulk to his frame which would improve his run blocking skills which are average at this point.  He excels at pass protection with his knack for recognizing line stunts and blitzes, but could use work on his lateral quickness when dealing with speedy edge rushers.

The Chiefs current left tackle Branden Albert is set to enter free agency and command a big contract, but Joeckel would represent a cost prohibitive upgrade and allow the team to let Albert walk and use the salary cap savings to fill holes elsewhere.

Texas A&M conceivably could have the top two picks in the draft after defensive end DaMontre Moore declared for the draft prior to the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Joeckel’s teammate along the offensive line Jake Matthews would slide over to the left tackle position to replace the Outland Trophy winner, but could also decide to declare for the draft.

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Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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