The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Pros: Has an effective kick-step in pass-protection -- comes off the ball at a slight angle and backs away, but isn't especially prone to inside moves. Sets back against edge rushers and makes it very difficult for them to get around in the pocket. Mirrors especially well to prevent rushers from getting around him near the end of the play. Not specifically built for lower-body power, but plays with a very wide base and outstanding fundamentals and rarely gets rocked back. Excellent drive blocker through the line and to the second level. Latches on to his target and forces the angle he wants. Pinches in to the tackle effectively and is able to establish good power to the side. Good cut-blocker who doesn't whiff when he aims and lunges. Seals the edge with consistency inside and outside.
Cons: Not a great or agile mover in space -- takes a second to get his body moving on the run and could be factored out on extended downfield blocks. Needs to hit his target on point because he doesn't have a lot of lateral mobility upfield and in zone situations. Would be better in a quick-step offense; was often asked to take the inside rusher on blitzes to his side and let the outside man move in with the quarterback directed to hit his hot read. Needs work on chipping one defender and moving to the second -- that's more a function of scheme than an indictment of his abilities, but it's an issue on tape.
What he brings to the team: Immediate starter value and consistency. Joeckel isn't a flashy player by any means, but for a team with an offense very much in flux, he will set the edge right away, and could do it from either edge of the offensive line. Calling a draft prospect "safe" is generally seen as pejorative, as it implies a low ceiling or a player who has maxed out in his development. I believe that Luke Joeckel is the best kind of safe player -- the kind who will hit the field in the NFL and be an impact starter from the start.
Was it the right pick? Yes. There's a lot of defensive talent left on the board, but the Jags need a bookend for Eugene Monroe, and they now have it. This sets the team's new regime up to properly evaluate quarterback Blaine Gabbert for one more season with an eye to 2014.