JACKSONVILLE – Whatever the future holds, it holds.
Luke Joeckel said that as of Thursday night, what happens next season wasn’t his major concern – i.e., whether he moves to right tackle next season and what adjustments that might bring.
What mattered Thursday was this:
He had just become the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft by the Jaguars, and whatever the immediate future holds, he said that was a pretty cool thing.
“I’m really excited about getting down to Jacksonville,” Joeckel, an offensive tackle from Texas A&M, said minutes after the Jaguars made him the third No. 2 overall selection in franchise history.
“The weather is great, and that’s always a good thing.”
Considered along with Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher the draft’s top player, Joeckel is expected to play right tackle with the Jaguars next season.
Joeckel started every game at left tackle in his three college seasons.
“It’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable,” Joeckel said. “It switches up your stagger. Instead of having my left foot back, I’ll have my right foot. Instead of having your heavy hand as my right hand, it’s going to switch to my left hand. It’s something I’ve also been working on. I’ve been working on right tackle sets through this whole process because it’s just another tool on the tool belt.
“You want as many tools as you can on that tool belt. It makes you more attractive to teams.”
Joeckel said he hasn’t played right tackle since his junior year of high school.
“I’m a very detailed guy and I definitely want to be a hundred percent comfortable by the time I get out there on the field on Sundays,” he said. “I’m going to get that way because I’m a detailed guy and I’m not going to accept anything else than a hundred percent comfortableness.”
Joeckel had been projected throughout much of the pre-draft process to go No. 1 overall to the Kansas City. But reports circulated Thursday afternoon that the Chiefs would be taking Fisher. That indeed happened, and the Jaguars took Joeckel about eight minutes later.
“I’m happy to be in Jacksonville. I’m happy to get down there. I understand now being the No. 2 pick doesn’t even matter.”
Joeckel said he didn’t know until the Chiefs selected Fisher that he wasn’t going No. 1, but said he thought once the Chiefs passed him that Jacksonville was a real possibility.
“I think the first thing anyone heard was when Eric got that call tonight,” he said. “My agent (Ben Dogra) told me there was a good possibility for that, because Jacksonville liked me the whole time.”
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell each said they had Joeckel rated as the top player in the draft, with Caldwell saying the team needed to improve its pass protection. Caldwell said Joeckel does that immediately, whatever side he plays.
As for Joeckel, he said the particulars of where he plays mattered far less on Thursday than the fact that he will get a chance to play.
“I understand playing at right tackle,” Joeckel said. “Eugene Monroe is a great player and I’m a guy that just wants to get on the field and wants to help my team. That’s how I’ve always been. I’ve never not started a football game. I’m trying to get on the field and make my team better.”