Size: Joeckel is listed at 6’6”, 310 pounds but we will have his official measurement in a couple weeks at the NFL Combine at which point I will update this section. I think he will likely be an official 6’5” and about 310 pounds. He has prototypical left tackle size and length even though he could stand to get stronger overall, particularly in his lower body.
Athleticism: Joeckel is one of the most athletic offensive tackles in a class that is seemingly full of them. He is consistently one of the first players off the ball, he is very smooth when getting in position for wall-off blocks and he gets to the second level effortlessly. He has all the athletic ability you could want in a left tackle prospect.
Technique: This is one of Joeckel’s strengths as a player. He generally has good hand placement inside the numbers but there are definitely too many instances where his hands get outside onto the defensive lineman’s shoulder pads which will lead to some holding calls at the next level. Joeckel’s kick slide is gorgeous though. His steps are short and choppy which help him maintain good balance which makes it easier for him to anchor versus a bull rush or recover if beaten to the inside or outside. One of the reasons he lets his hands get outside onto the shoulder pads of defenders at times is because when he comes out of his stance his arms are wide and not tight inside his frame. That’s a coachable technique point and upon watching some of his games from 2011 he did a considerably better job both from a kick slide and hand placement perspective as a junior. He does bend at the waist from time to time while in pass protection, but he leans and bends at the waist very consistently when he is asked to drive block. That leads to balance issues and results in him struggling to sustain those blocks.
Pass Protection: This is obviously the strength of Joeckel’s game and what makes him a likely top 5 pick. I previously mentioned his kick slide which is very impressive, but he is also very quick out of his stance. He is consistently one of the first out of his stance on the Aggies offensive line and actually looked better as a junior in that regard than he did in the games I watched of him as a sophomore. It’s very difficult to beat Joeckel off the edge with a speed rush thanks to his lateral agility, smooth kick slide and long arms. However, he does occasionally get beaten inside, particularly against power moves. Still, Joeckel rarely lunges in pass protection and mirrors pass rushers effectively. He has some “quick-twitch” to him which enables him to react quickly when he is technically sound. Additionally, he is smart and athletic enough to handle stunts and twists by defensive linemen easily, and he has the agility to pick up linebackers and defensive backs who are blitzing off the edge. His weakness in pass protection is power moves, most notably the bull rush. He needs to get stronger in the lower body because his anchor leaves something to be desired at this juncture. That’s not to say he can’t anchor at all, he certainly can, but he also lets his feet get too wide at times when he is trying to recover from a bull rush. The most concerning things about Joeckel’s pass protection are his less than ideal anchor and his occasional issue with waist bending which hurts his balance. Both of those issues are correctable and improvable, so overall Joeckel grades out very high in this department.
Run Blocking: This is where Joeckel leaves something to be desired. He’s never going to be a very effective drive blocker and this has to do with him leaning and bending at the waist pretty consistently when he is asked to do so. This problem isn’t always easily correctable and I usually consider it to be a habit NFL teams are going to struggle to break the player of. Joeckel has shown the mentality to finish blocks when he is asked to block down on a defensive tackle and can generate movement when asked to do so, but when he is head up with a defensive end he is much better at getting out of his stance, beating the player to a spot or reaching him and sealing him off to create a lane for his running back to run through. He struggles to sustain when man blocking because he bends at the waist, and is much more effective when asked to block down or wall off. He’s also a very effective cut blocker, and he reaches the second level easily thanks to his athleticism and consistently locates and blocks defenders when he gets there. He may not be an elite run blocker, particularly when asked to drive block, but he is very, very effective when asked to wall off to create a running lane behind him.
Overall: Joeckel is going to be a top 5 pick in the NFL Draft and he’s going to get consideration for the top overall slot regardless of whether or not Branden Albert is traded. I can understand picking him that high if you have a glaring need at the position, but ideally the player would be a dominant left tackle. They are a rare breed these days though, and Joeckel is a very good pass protector who while not ideal as a run blocker isn’t a slouch either. He has some technical issues he can clean up a bit and if he can get stronger in his lower half (and frankly his upper body as well, as I saw him simply get overpowered by Lerentee McCray, Lavar Edwards and Adrian Hubbard at times) I think he will be a high level starter. Will he be dominant? Not in my opinion, but I think he will be very good. If you’re a tackle needy in the top 7 (the Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals could all potentially be interested) Joeckel has to be near the top of your wish list.
Projection: Top 5