The Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to terms with their first round pick Luke Joeckel today. Due to the new collective bargaining agreement, signing rookies to their deals is hardly an issue anymore – unless said rookie decides to get into legal trouble between being drafted and signing their contract…
While most of the time new regimes like to draft or acquire their guy at the quarterback position immediately, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley opted to forgo all the available quarterback prospects to address the right tackle position. Obviously spending the second overall pick on a right tackle isn’t ideal, but in this year’s draft and in the Jaguars’ current situation it seems like the right move. And while most of the time fans want to hear their first round pick’s name several times throughout the game, the opposite is true of a right tackle. So far it seems that Luke Joeckel is doing a good job of staying unnoticed.
#Jaguars OC Jedd Fisch on Joeckel last week: "The best credit for Luke right now is we don't talk about him a lot."
— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) June 22, 2013
Nonetheless, the importance of Luke Joeckel contributing this season cannot be overstated. By helping solidify the offensive line, Joeckel gives the new front office and coaching staff a chance to evaluate Blaine Gabbert without so many extraneous variables. After the 2013 season, David Caldwell is going to know whether or not he needs to draft a quarterback early in the 2014 draft and Joeckel is going to be a huge factor in that decision. Joeckel anchoring the right side of the line will also free up Marcedes Lewis to finally be used as a weapon in the passing game. Once Justin Blackmon comes back from his suspension and Maurice Jones-Drew gets back to full-speed, Blaine Gabbert will have no excuses if his performance on the field doesn’t improve significantly. Luke Joeckel isn’t just a right tackle – he’s a vital part of Jacksonville’s future in more ways than one.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89