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To explain why Luke Joeckel is the perfect fit for the Eagles, I'll start by bringing up a Philly team from a different sport- the Phillies. After a few years as one of the best teams in the MLB, the team took a nosedive last season. The main reason? An roster full of aging stars who couldn't stay/get healthy. The team cornerstones of Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are 35, 34, 33 and 34 years old, respectively. Those aren't players you want your team to be built around.
What does this have to do with the Eagles? To say the least, the Eagles are in an unsettling position regarding the offensive line. Jason Peters, a Pro Bowl LT when healthy, is coming off of a ruptured Achilles tendon and may never reach the same level he was at before the injury. Jason Kelce is recovering from a torn MCL and ACL. Danny Watkins may not be a starting caliber guard.
So the lesson to be learned from the Phillies is that it's never too early to start planning for the future. And with the #4 overall pick, the Eagles are in a great position to grab a franchise LT and solidify a very important position for years to come.
Let's talk about Luke Joeckel.
Pros: Joeckel was a starter for all three years of his time at Texas A&M, and for good reason. He is an elite pass protector, with quick feet, solid arm length and excellent athleticism. Playing against some of the best defensive ends in college football, including Sam Montgomery and Corey Lemonier this past season, Joeckel has had standout performances. Neither player generated any pressure on quarterback Johnny Manziel. Joeckel especially excels at preventing ends from turning the corner, pushing them past the QB and out of the play. In the run game, Joeckel uses his athleticism to place blocks at the second level.
Cons: The main concern with Joeckel is his mediocre strength and power when blocking in the run game. There are times when Joeckel is unable to get any movement at all along the defensive line. Critics also point out his average performance at the Combine, marked by a rather disappointing 5.30 sec time in the 40-yard dash.
Bottom Line: Joeckel is one of the safest bets in this year's draft. He projects to be a solid starter at worst, and an All-Pro tackle at best. The strength concerns are pretty minor considering his 27 reps in the bench press, the same as BGN favorite Eric Fisher. His 40-yard dash time also undersells his athleticism, as evidenced by his stellar 7.40 time in the 3-cone drill. Joeckel is the favorite to be drafted first overall by the Chiefs, making it unlikely that he will be available for the Eagles at #4. But if he is still on the board when the Eagles are on the clock, there's no doubt that Joeckel should be the pick.
Next up is flying high with the eagles with Eric Fisher.