NEW YORK --- For the first time in program history, the Texas A&M football team has produced a top 10 NFL Draft selection in three straight years after All-America offensive tackle Luke Joeckel was picked No. 2 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday at Radio City Music Hall.
Joeckel, who attended Thursday’s NFL Draft first-round festivities, joined linebacker Von Miller and quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the Aggies’ top 10 parade. Miller was taken No. 2 overall by the Denver Broncos in 2011 and Tannehill was selected No. 8 overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2012. Joeckel became the highest drafted Aggie offensive lineman ever, surpassing perennial NFL All-Pro Richmond Webb who was taken ninth overall by the Miami Dolphins in 1990.
“Luke Joeckel is the consummate professional,” Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “As talented as Luke is on the field, he is an even better person off of it. Luke is a strong, physical player with great technical skills. He started every game of his Aggie career at left tackle and did a fantastic job. He is a great addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
At No. 2 overall, Joeckel matched the highest NFL Draft selection ever by an Aggie. He equalled the draft position of four other Texas A&M players: Miller, Quentin Coryatt (Indianapolis Colts, 1992), John David Crow (1958, St. Louis Cardinals) and John Kimbrough (1941, Chicago Cardinals).
"Wow! What an honor," Joeckel said. "I feel like I let the Aggies down not being the first overall pick, but it’s not that big of a deal. Being the second pick is great. It’s a dream come true, representing A&M in this way. They gave me so much at A&M. I’m glad I can represent them and I’m glad I can give back to them."
Joeckel had been projected by many to be the No. 1 overall selection, which would have been a first in program history. Central Michigan offensive tacke Eric Fisher was taken first overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.
You know it really wasn’t disappointment," Joeckel said. "Every guy here in New York was fighting for that first pick and I’m a competitor and I wanted that first pick. 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 me 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, who declared early for the draft, was a unanimous All-America selection as a junior for the 11-2 Aggies in 2012. Protecting the blind side for Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, Joeckel became the first Aggie to win the Outland Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and recipient of the SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy. Joeckel started every possible game of his A&M career and finished with 39 consecutive starts at left tackle.
Aggies in the Top 10 of NFL Draft First Round
2013 Luke Joeckel, OL, 2nd, Jacksonville Jaguars
2012 Ryan Tannehill, QB, 8th, Miami Dolphins
2011 Von Miller, LB, 2nd, Denver Broncos
1994 Sam Adams, DL, 8th, Seattle Seahawks
1992 Quentin Coryatt, LB, 2nd, Indianapolis Colts
1990 Richmond Webb, OL, 9th, Miami Dolphins
1985 Ray Childress, DL, 3rd, Houston Oilers
1980 Curtis Dickey, RB, 5th, Baltimore Colts
1980 Jacob Green, DL, 10th, Seattle Seahawks
1976 Bubba Bean, RB, 9th, Atlanta Falcons
1970 Larry Stegent, RB, 8th, St. Louis Cardinals
1958 John David Crow, RB, 2nd, St. Louis Cardinals
1958 Charlie Krueger, DL, 9th, San Fransisco 49ers
1949 Bob Goode, RB, 8th, Washington Redskins
1941 John Kimbrough, RB, 2nd, St. Louis Cardinals
1941 Jim Thomason, RB, 5th, Detroit Lions
(On his overall reaction to being drafted second overall and possibly playing right tackle) “I’m really excited about getting down to Jacksonville. The weather is great, that’s always a good thing. I understand playing at right tackle. Eugene Monroe is a great player and I’m a guy that just wants to get on the field and wants to help my team. That’s how I’ve always been. I’ve never not started a football game. I’m trying to get on the field and make my team better.”
(On the last time he played right tackle) “My junior year of high school.”
(On the difficulty of transitioning from left to right tackle) “It’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable. It switches up your stagger. Instead of having my left foot back, I’ll have my right foot. Instead of having your heavy hand as my right hand, it’s going to switch to my left hand. It’s something I’ve also been working on. I’ve been working on right tackle sets through this whole process because it’s just another tool on the tool belt. You want as many tools as you can on that tool belt. It makes you more attractive to teams.”
(On how long it will take to get adjusted to right tackle) “How much we’re going to practice and how big of a technician I am; I’m a very detailed guy and I definitely want to be a hundred percent comfortable by the time I get out there on the field on Sundays. I’m going to get that way because I’m a detailed guy and I’m not going to accept anything else than a hundred percent comfortableness.”
(On if he was surprised to not go number one overall) “I’m a competitor and I think every guy here in New York at the Draft was fighting to be the number one pick. We all want to be that number one pick. I think this whole thing, going two, is just going to drive me more. It’s going to help me work harder, especially with another offensive tackle going in front of me is going to help me work harder because I’ll always want to be the best. I’m happy to be in Jacksonville. I’m happy to get down there. I understand now that even being the number two pick doesn’t even matter, I still have to prove myself.”
(On if the Chiefs notified him that he wasn’t going to be selected at number one) “No, you know I’ve kind of been in the dark the whole time. They really didn’t tell anyone what was going on. I think the first thing anyone heard was when Eric (Fisher) got that call tonight. I’m happy to be a Jaguar and I’m ready to get down to Jacksonville and start playing football.”
(On if he thought the Jaguars would select him if the Chiefs did not) “My agent told me that there was a good possibility for that because Jacksonville liked me the whole time. I’m so happy to have this whole process over with, having a team, and having some teammates I’m ready to go meet and ready to go work hard with.”
(On whom he will be bringing to Jacksonville on Shad Khan’s private jet) “I think they’re bringing my whole family, everyone that was back here in the green room with me. All of these people were so significant in me being here and they’re all huge parts of my life.”
(On when he and his twin brother Matt, a Texas A&M quarterback, began to separate in size) “We went into high school probably about 10 pounds apart, and I gained 100 pounds in high school. He stayed lean and he tried to be pretty like a quarterback. I’ve always just been that grunt tackle, that grunt offensive lineman. It really just happened in high school.”
(On if the SEC prepared him for the NFL) “Yeah, for sure. I played in the Big 12 my first two years and played in the SEC this year, and there’s definitely a difference between those two conferences. I think going into the NFL is just another step up and I feel like I’ve taken the right steps in college to be ready to play against NFL talent. Blocking Von Miller my first two years of college every single every day, I’ve seen what kind of pass rushers the NFL has.”
(On his familiarity with former Jaguar Tony Boselli) “I’ve never talked to him, but a lot of people through this whole process and going to visit Jacksonville have compared me to him. They say we kind of look alike. That’s quite an honor and he’s a great player. I know that he was a great offensive tackle for the Jaguars for a long time and it’s just an honor being mentioned with him.”
(On who, along with his mother and father, is coming with him to Jacksonville tomorrow) “I think my two brothers and my sister are coming also, I think.”