When the Jacksonville Jaguars went on the clock in the 2013 NFL draft, they had a serious decision to make. This is a franchise that hasn’t been to the playoffs in the past five seasons, and only twice in the past 14. This selection was made even more important with the fact that this was the second draft for new owner Shahid Khan. Khan has been very outspoken about his team and his direction, so I think many expected a bold move.
But that wasn’t really what happened. Not really his fault though. It isn’t hard to look at this roster and understand that it is in dire need of a new quarterback. There is no position that can turn around a franchise faster than a great quarterback. The rub is the 2013 quarterback class was rather uninspired and no signal caller worth that number-two overall pick. So, with quarterback off the table, the Jaguars took the approach of drafting the best player on their board. That happened to be left tackle Luke Joeckel. Not the sexiest pick, and probably not the pick that will move the needle a lot in terms of wins in 2013, but a great pick regardless.
With Jaguars training camp just a few weeks away, there is little question that Joeckel is going to be working with the first team, and starting come opening day. But he’ll be starting a right tackle at least for this season. Starting left tackle Eugene Monroe is an exceptional player, but he’s also a player in the final year of his rookie contract with no extension in sight. This season, Joeckel is going to dominate on the right side of that Jaguars line and assuming the Jaguars don’t choose to extend Monroe, he will be starting at left tackle in 2014. But for now, this training camp is about proving he’s the starting right tackle, and that he was worth such a high draft pick.