Around the NFL  

 

Luke Joeckel plans to keep battling for starting gig

Print

Optimism is teeming from Jacksonville this offseason, unless you are Luke Joeckel.

The former No. 2 overall pick in 2013 took snaps at both left tackle and left guard at the start of OTAs. With the Jaguars signing former Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum this offseason, Joeckel will have to fight just to get on the field. The incumbent plans to battle for his starting left tackle spot. 

"I'm going in planning on winning the job," Joeckel said, via the Florida Times-Union. "I'm competing for a spot -- that's what this program is based on. I have to go out there and improve myself each and every day."

We didn't have Joeckel in our way-too-early projected starters prediction last week. If Beachum is healthy -- he won't participate in workouts until August -- the newcomer will play left tackle. The Jags have seen enough of Joeckel to know he can't hack it.

The most telling move was the Jags declining Joeckel's fifth-year option.

"I don't know if insulted is the right word for it. (General manager) Dave (Caldwell) was honest with me the whole time," the offensive lineman said. "You do take it personally, for sure. But I want to stick in Jacksonville. I like it here. It all comes down to my play and I know that."

Credit Caldwell with cutting bait on the No. 2 overall pick. Sometimes even high first-round picks don't work out. It's a sunck cost. Sticking with a weak left tackle in front of Blake Bortles could have sent the entire offense in a spiral.

Joeckel will get a chance to compete for playing time, like all players. While positivity abounds about an explosive Jaguars offense and a rebuilt defense ready to test the powers of the AFC for a playoff berth, Joeckel might be left out in the cold.

Print