With the Detroit Lions facing an uncertain future with Gosder Cherilus and Jeff Backus, the Lions offensive line could be facing some significant changes at tackle sooner rather than later. Last season, the Lions added Riley Reiff in the first round and could use another first round pick on Joeckel to solidfy their tackle positions for the next decade. Reiff has been solid when he gets his reps, but the verdict is still out on whether he can block consistently against premier pass rushers. While Joeckel hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, he’s looking like the best left tackle prospect coming out of college since Jake Long, who went number one overall in 2008.
Traits and Projected Round
Joeckel has ideal size for a left tackle at 6’6 310 lbs, long arms, and displays great quckiness and athleticism. The best left tackle prospect in the 2013 draft class, Joeckel is projected as a top five pick and could go as high as number one to the Cheifs.
Why The Lions Should Draft Joeckel
He’s the only player worthy of a top five pick that makes sense for the Lions. With the 2013 draft class flooded with talented defensive ends, the Lions could trade back and acquire more high round picks and still gain a top notch pass rusher later in the first round. Joeckel could slide into the left tackle position from day one, allowing the Lions to move Riley Reiff to right tackle, a more natural position at this point in his development. In a division featuring pass rushers like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Jared Allen, drafting Joeckel could really neutralize opposing defenses’ game plans and give Matthew Stafford more time to hook up with Calvin Johnson down the field. Let’s not forget the Lions are tied for last place in runs over 20 yards. Usually interior lineman impact the run game more than tackles, but Joeckel would be an upgrade over Jeff Backus and could help Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell gain a few extra yards.
Check out Joeckel’s blocks (left end of offensive line) in this video below. He dominates his man on just about every snap. As a bonus, this highlight features right tackle Jake Matthews who could be the first tackle taken off the board in the 2014 NFL Draft.
What do you think Lions fans, if Joeckel is available, should be automatically be the pick?