New Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell tapped Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel as the first pick of his regime in hopes that he will be a part of the core foundation for his team moving forward. For months, most believed Joeckel would be the first overall pick on Thursday night but slipped to the Jaguars when the Kansas City Chiefs opted for Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
The Jaguars already have a very good left tackle in Eugene Monroe, so Joeckel will be expected to come in and immediately start at the right tackle position that has been a problem for them for the past three seasons. Joeckel will also serve as an insurance policy for the Jaguars if Monroe walks in free agency after the 2013 season.
Joeckel made his name in college as a very reliable pass protector, who relied more on his athleticism than his strength to keep opposing pass rushers off of his quarterback. His quickness allows him to get out to the second level while run blocking and should make him a good fit in the Jaguars new zone blocking scheme. He is not a perfect prospect, however, as he has had problems overcommitting in pass protection and getting beat to the inside by savvy pass rushers.
While Joeckel may be one of the safest picks in this draft, I do not necessarily believe that this is a good pick for the Jaguars. The Jaguars had a chance to get an impact pass rusher for their struggling defense, but instead chose to take a player that they plan on plugging in at a non-premium position with their very valuable pick.
I hope this is not a sign that Caldwell and the new Jaguars regime are going to be this conservative with their draft picks moving forward because sometimes you have to take a swing for the fences and take a chance. The Jaguars passed on an opportunity to be bold tonight.