Posted January 08, 2013

Luke Joeckel may pique Chiefs’ interest at No. 1 overall

Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Draft
Luke Joeckel has started for Texas A&M since he was a true freshman in 2010. (Dave Einsel/AP)

Luke Joeckel has started for Texas A&M since he was a true freshman in 2010. (Dave Einsel/AP)

For as long as Luke Joeckel remains on the draft board in April, he’s likely to be seriously considered by whichever team happens to be on the clock.

The Chiefs, by virtue of holding the No. 1 overall pick, will have first crack at the standout Texas A&M offensive tackle. Joeckel finalized his plan Tuesday to enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-6 Joeckel played a key role in Johnny Manziel’s sudden takeover of college football this season. Despite playing against elite SEC talent, week in and week out, Joeckel turned in a dominant 2012 and is considered to be, for now, the top available offensive lineman for the coming draft.

How strongly Kansas City leans toward Joeckel depends on a number of factors, not the least of which being Branden Albert’s pending free agency.

The Chiefs face the usual options with Albert set to hit the market: re-sign him, let him walk or slap the franchise tag on him. That third choice would cost the Chiefs just shy of $10 million, but it’s hard to see them allowing their starting left tackle to walk.

The variable that could push them toward that money-saving decision is Joeckel. If the Chiefs convince themselves in the coming couple of weeks that Joeckel is capable of filling Albert’s shoes, that swap may make sense for new head coach Andy Reid. Kansas City also might be intrigued by the prospect of Joeckel at left tackle and Albert at guard — the Chiefs need to address their interior line, too, now that guard Ryan Lilja has decided to retire.

Unfortunately for Reid and the Chiefs, the top of this year’s draft class does not have an obvious No. 1 pick — unlike the 2012 draft, where the Colts had their choice between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Given Kansas City’s obvious needs (quarterback, receiver and linebacker, for starters), that lack of a clear superstar has to be even more frustrating.

Which is why Joeckel has a shot to go No. 1, should Albert hit free agency and a huge K.C. roster hole suddenly meshes with the available draft talent.

Even if Joeckel slides past the Chiefs, though, he will find no shortage of teams interested in his talent — so much so, in a few cases, that the rest of the top 5 (Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia and Detroit) might be able to swing a draft-day trade contingent on Joeckel’s availability.

But any of that quartet also could make a case for Joeckel early. Both the Jaguars and Raiders had huge issues at right tackle; the Eagles struggled all over their line (save for Evan Mathis), and are still awaiting Jason Peters’ return from an Achilles injury; and the Lions might be shorthanded, even with 2012 first-rounder Riley Reiff in tow, if Jeff Backus retires and Gosder Cherilus leaves in free agency.

All those teams will have to wait to see what the Chiefs do as a 2013 draft opener. Given Joeckel’s potential as an NFL lineman and the lack of elite prospects, a match could be made at No. 1 overall.

16 comments
Divinewind
Divinewind

The Colts didn't have a choice....they had Luck.

NeilDouglas
NeilDouglas like.author.displayName 1 Like

Two LB's from the Chiefs going to the pro bowl. Where is the need?

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

Chiefs should TRADE DOWN and get picks.  They need more than a dominant lineman, i.e. they need a good QB but the safer play is to trade the pick and get first rounder next year plus picks form 2nd round, 3rd round, etc from team willing to risk their future by trading off those slots.

marker264109
marker264109

we need a QB and then a QB and THEN a lineman

nyhoukcdal
nyhoukcdal

 @stabmasterarson21 Indeed they should.  The problem is that every GM knows this, and so will be in a position of strength with respect to the Chiefs' trade desire.  And since there is no clear #1 player to move up for, the trade value of this pick for the Chiefs is even further diminished.  It's a buyer's market (meaning the other 31 teams), not a seller's market.

harvey
harvey

so, what do you do first?  Build the line to protect a quarterback or get a quarterback and then try to build a line ...

bbc
bbc

Just Chiefs' luck there's no great QB prospect in this year's draft. It's good that Chiefs have plenty of holes to fill and they can defer drafting a QB till next year.

usameos6
usameos6

 @bbc I don't think there's a sure fire top pick QB in this draft that I would take a chance on - but they may be able to get someone in the second round (e.g. Tyler Wilson or Tyler Bray) that could pan out better than some of the free agent options out there.

Prescott
Prescott

we mean Cards can't operate WITHOUT new faces on offensive line

Prescott
Prescott

THE CARDINALS need offensive line help more than anybody else--they can't operate with significant change 

hubrob107
hubrob107

The biggest reason for the success of A & M is Sumlin.  

 

GeraldC.Harris
GeraldC.Harris

 @hubrob107 Luke Joeckel was a stud before Sumlin got there. As a true freshman in 2010, he started all 13 games at left tackle. As a sophomore in 2011 he started all 13 games again and was a second team All-Big 12 selection. He was listed as a Pre-Season 1st Team SEC and was a Pre-Season All American on many list. This isn't something that just developed this year. People have been talking about A&M having the best tackle tandem in the country for some time. People talked about that all pre-season.

Whatever
Whatever

Can the Chiefs just select him now and be done with it?

marker264109
marker264109

sure,  then just let them skip the 2013 season altogether and list them at 1-15 this year (and be done with it).