He did not hold out like last season’s first round pick. He has said the right things, been the good soldier and even changed positions to accommodate a veteran at the left tackle position. Now, all that is left is to see what Luke Joeckel can do to help the Jaguars offensive line.
In a story published on sportingnews.com, Joeckel, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, signed a contract over 5 years that will net him, “A a signing bonus near $13.8 million and has a cap number around $3.85 million in his first season.”
Not bad for a rookie who was the top overall player listed on many draft boards and for a player who has a chip on his shoulder that he was not the first overall selection of the Draft. That distinction goes to Eric Fisher, another tackle, who was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jacksonville offensive line and pass coverage was awful last season, allowing Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne to be sacked 50 times between the two of them.
The signing of Joeckel does many things for this team, none of which may be more important than the fact there will not be any layoff from the camp and training Joeckel has already been involved in.
This also means the offensive line may already be set before training camp. Joeckel and Eugene Monroe are already penciled in at the tackle slots, giving this team the best combination of tackles since Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy.
Brad Meester, the wizened veteran of the bunch, will again be at center and Uche Nwaneri and Will Rackley figure to be the starting guards. There appears to be solid depth behind them.
Could this be a good unit in 2013? Yes. Could it be a great unit? That remains to be seen. I like the attitude, even the anger of not being the first overall pick. It is the kind of motivation Joeckel will need facing top defensive ends in the league. It is also the kind of motivation other athletes and football players have used over the years. Just ask Maurice Jones-Drew.
For now, the Jaguars have solved one issue in the lull of the offseason. This issue guarantees stability. This issue guarantees a solid start.
And above everything else, this issue means the Jaguars for a tackle to start for the them possibly for the next decade.