Luke Joeckel falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars was a dream scenario for new general manager Dave Caldwell. Since before he came to Jacksonville, Caldwell thought that Joeckel was the best player in the draft. With right tackle a major need for the Jaguars it just made sense that the Texas A&M offensive tackle and the Jags created a perfect marriage.
Jaguars owner Shahid Khan interviewed a number of applicants to replace fired GM Gene Smith. When he sat down with Caldwell he asked who he thought was the best player in the draft. Caldwell immediately responded that it was Luke Joeckel. No longer with the Atlanta Falcons (who made another big trade up in the first round), Caldwell would have the opportunity to pick Joeckel for his new team.
“We gave up the third-most sacks last year, not only from the left side but from the right side of the line,” Caldwell said. ”We needed to correct that. … We needed somebody that could pass protect for us.” The pass protection for the Jaguars was miserable and saw quarterbacks Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert on the grass 50 times plus other hits and pressures. Gabbert ended the year on injured reserve. Caldwell feels that both the right side and the left side are good opportunities to rush the passer and views them to be “both close to being equally important.”
The Jaguars’ gaping hole at right tackle has been filled. While the defensive line could use a pass rusher there are still more obvious holes on the roster. The Jaguars have no starting caliber third linbacker, they have no starting caliber strong safety, they have no starting caliber at cornerback opposite Mike Harris, and they have a major need to upgrade left guard which could be manned by the disappointing Will Rackley if they don’t.
Round two will yield another quality pick at number 33 overall. With Caldwell drafting for need, look for the Jaguars to fill one of the gaping holes on their roster just like they did with Joeckel.
- Luke N. Sims
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