With the NFL draft around the corner, the Detroit Lions are preparing for the last significant opportunity to improve their roster before the kickoff of the 2013 season.
The Lions have surprised with some of their selections over the last few years and predicting which direction they take may not be an exact science.
Before the draft (April 25-27), we take a look at the most likely candidates the Lions could select in round one. Today, we evaluate Luke Joeckel.
Luke Joeckel, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Why the Lions Would Be Interested
Joeckel plays one of the most important positions in the league: left tackle. After the departure of Jeff Backus (retirement) on the left and Gosder Cherilus (free-agency) on the right side of the offensive line, the Lions might be enticed be the idea of a fresh, franchise left tackle. Combined with last year's top pick Riley Reiff, they would have two potentially standout bookends.
At six-foot-six, Joeckel has the prototypical height and tips the scales at 306 pounds. In addition to his size, he is athletic. He moves well and excels in pass protection –- something that fits what the Lions do on offense.
He is durable and hasn't missed a game in his college career. He is smart and can pick up on defensive adjustments. He has the work ethic, drive and competitive nature teams look for out of the position.
Why the Lions Would Pass
Before the Lions have a chance to even consider Joeckel, he is likely to be off the board. With such uncertainty at the top of the draft, it's possible he will still be available at five but he could also be gone as early as number one.
If there is an area for Joeckel to improve, it's his strength. Although he is not weak by any means, he doesn't have the raw power to maul stronger defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. He combines his attributes nicely but he plays more of an athletic style than a power one.