Luke Joeckel doesn’t go No. 1 overall, but No. 2 isn’t a bad prize

Posted Friday, Apr. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The last time Luke Joeckel was on center stage, for the Outland Trophy announcement in December, a Kansas City Chiefs great butchered his name. Will Shields called him “Joel Joeckel.”

This time, the Chiefs didn’t call his name at all.

Joeckel began hearing rumors Wednesday night that the Chiefs had settled on Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher as the No. 1 overall pick. Indeed, the Chiefs did just that, though they created minimal drama by waiting eight of their allotted 10 minutes before sending in the card containing Fisher’s name.

Joeckel didn’t have long to be disappointed as the Jacksonville Jaguars called his cellphone soon after, elated to draft the player new general manager David Caldwell rated the best in the class of 2013 as far back as January during his interview with Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

“Every guy here in New York was fighting for that first pick, and I’m a competitor, and I wanted that first pick,” Joeckel said. “But not getting it is just going to help drive me even more. It’s going to put a chip on my shoulder. I’m ready to go work. And being the second pick doesn’t even matter after tomorrow. I’m ready to get down to Jacksonville, start proving myself and get myself ready to go help my team win.”

Joeckel becomes the highest-drafted Tarrant County player ever and is the fifth Aggie taken No. 2 overall. Von Miller is the school’s most recent, going second to the Broncos two years ago.

The Aggies now have had top-10 picks for three consecutive drafts. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill went to the Miami Dolphins at No. 8 last year.

But Joeckel had designs on being the first Aggie taken No. 1 overall. He won the SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy in addition to the Outland Trophy, giving up only two sacks and three knockdowns, according to STATS, Inc.

After starting all 39 games in his three-year career at left tackle, Joeckel opted to bypass his senior season. He instantly became the favorite for the top choice.

But Fisher, despite playing lesser competition in the Mid-American Conference, won the honor with standout performances at the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine.

“This doesn’t happen to people like us,” Fisher, who had only two college offers, said of him and his mother. “This happens to other people. We’re a very blue-collar family. We’ve always just worked so hard. This is like, I think, almost like winning the lottery. It’s so unreal.”

Offensive tackles had never gone 1-2. They did Thursday night. In fact, offensive linemen carried the night. Eight of the first 20 picks were offensive linemen, including Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, who went to the Eagles at No. 4.

By comparison, only one quarterback went in the first round as Buffalo, in something of a surprise, passed on Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, who played for Bills coach Doug Marrone in college, selected Florida State’s E.J. Manuel.

“It’s always nice when the O-line gets some respect,” said Joeckel, who might move to right tackle with Eugene Monroe, the No. 8 pick in 2009, at left tackle. “We usually get the crummy meeting rooms, the crummy chairs in our meeting rooms, and it’s always nice when we get some respect. I think a lot of teams are realizing how important the position is because the guys, they look pretty good scoring the touchdowns, but they get space to score those touchdowns from us.”

Joeckel celebrated with his family, who were in the green room with him backstage at Radio City Music Hall, before going onstage to celebrate with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was holding a No. 1 Jaguars’ jersey with Joeckel’s name on the back.

Joeckel wasn’t No. 1, as it turned out, but Goodell at least got Joeckel’s name right.

“A lot of people started calling me Joel in College Station,” Joeckel said. “I was just going to take the name on. I’m glad [Goodell] said Luke, so I can go back to being known as Luke again.”

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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