Three left tackles – Joeckel, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson – are being projected among the top 12 picks.
No trio of left tackles has gone that early since 2002.
Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson measured at almost the same size during Thursday’s Combine weigh-ins. Each stood between 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7, weighed between 303 and 306 pounds, and had arm length between 34 ¼ inches and 35 ¼ inches. The latter category is especially important because left tackles need reach to stymie opposing pass-rushers.
All three also have outstanding agility for their size, which former Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian says is a must at the position.
“You’ve got to have long arms, quick feet and the ability to reach block when they run the stretch play to the outside,” Polian said. “You have to be able to cut off the defensive end. It’s all athletics at the left tackle position.”
Polian was impressed with the job Joeckel (pronounced JOKE-ell) did last season while protecting Johnny Manziel’s blindside, especially because the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback scrambled so frequently.
“He’s a terrific pass-blocker – and pass-blocking for 'Johnny Football' is no easy task,” said Polian, referring to Manziel’s nickname. “You never know where he’s going to be. (Joeckel) can adjust on the run. He can move his feet.”
Polian said there is another reason left tackles are a safe pick. They rarely come into the NFL with off-field baggage or add any during their pro careers via arrests.
“Offensive linemen, strangely enough, are usually the straightest of straight arrows,” Polian said. You rarely find an offensive lineman that gets in trouble. They just don’t. They just do everything by the book.”
Like every prospect, pre-draft negatives can be found for Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson. Polian said all three will enter the league needing to spend more time in the weight room but added “they’ll get stronger. They’re all young guys