2013 NFL Combine: Did The Battle For Top Offensive Tackle Just Get Interesting?


The offensive tackle class has been lauded as "deep" and "talented," with a group of four headlining the group. Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, DJ Fluker and Lane Johnson are battling to be the first offensive tackle taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, and possibly the first overall pick.

Texas A & M's Luke Joeckel has been considered the top offensive tackle prospect in his draft class for quite sometime, but recently, a few analysts have mentioned that Central Michigan's Eric Fisher has caught up to the former Aggie. While they both have their strengths and weaknesses, there is no doubt that the separation between the two is not what it was a prior to the Senior Bowl. Now, enter Oklahoma's Lane Johnson and Alabama's DJ Fluker.

While both Johnson and Fluker come from historically "bigger" football schools, they have rarely been mentioned in the conversation regarding "top tackle." The two are both considered 1st round picks by most of the media and Draft analysts, but have not been considered anything close to Top 10 picks. Now, after the Combine drills and measurements for offensive linemen are done, have they gained ground like Fisher after the Senior Bowl?

While most scouts typically say they do not put a ton of value into the Combine, let's take a look at the numbers for all four top tackle prospects:

Luke Joekel, OT, Texas A&M

HT: 6'6"

WT: 306 lbs.

Arm Length: 34 1/4"

40-Yard Dash: 5.30 sec.

Vertical Jump: 28.5 inch

Board Jump: 106.0 inch

Bench Press: 27 Reps.

Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

HT: 6'7"

WT: 306 lbs.

Arm Length: 34 1/2"

40-Yard Dash: 5.05 sec.

Vertical Jump: 28.5 inch

Board Jump: 116.0 inch

Bench Press: 27 Reps.

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

HT: 6'6"

WT: 303 lbs.

Arm Length: 35 1/4"

40-Yard Dash: 4.72 sec. (2nd best time of all-time)

Vertical Jump: 34.0 inch

Board Jump: 118.0 inch

Bench Press: 28 Reps

DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama

HT: 6'5"

WT: 339 lbs. (lost 16 lbs since Senior Bowl due to weight concerns)

Arm Length: 36 3/4"

40-Yard Dash: 5.31 sec.

Vertical Jump: N/A

Board Jump: N/A

Bench Press: 21 Reps.

As you can see, Johnson may have teams salivating over his speed, Fluker may have impressed coaches by his quick weight loss and Fisher probably helped himself with all of his numbers being solid. While Joeckel did not have awful numbers, they were probably not what he was hoping for. Generally, it is a scout "rule of thumb" not to fall in or out of love with a prospect due to his Combine numbers, so this could be and probably is all just fodder, but it will certainly going to get the media and fanbases talking.

After looking at the numbers and watching the drills, who would you want the Eagles to take at pick number 4, if they decided to go offensive tackle?

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