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April 25, 2013

Jaguars happy to have Joeckel

Luke Joeckel: (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."

GM David Caldwell:

(Is there something about him other than you saw on tape?) "It's funny. When Shad interviewed me he asked me before I even came in who I thought the best player in the draft was going to be, and I said Luke Joeckel. Here we are a hundred and eight days later after I got the job, but you know what? He comes from a football family, everybody in his family has played football, he's been playing since he's been able to play, he started every game at Texas A&M in his three years there. Came in and when you watch him, I remember going to watch him, some of the coaches pointed out, 'watch this guy going against Ron Miller.' You watch him as a young freshman, he just came out of high school, he came out of high school early, and you just knew early on that this guy was going to be a top NFL player. I've had very good friends on the Texas A&M coaching staff; just as late as on Monday I called one of them and I said, 'What should we do if Luke Joeckel is there?' He said make the card before the pick and turn it in as soon as you're on the clock. From that aspect it was an easy selection for us."

(It looks like a very clean pick. Was there anything that you feel like you had to change to make sure…) "We dug, we dug, and we dug. We have a great scouting staff. They do great research, great background, and I've been fortunate enough my time in Atlanta where I went to Texas A&M the last three years and I saw him as well as a lot of other players. So no matter who you talk to, if you talk to some coaches in the league, the coach at Texas A & M that coached him I know they speak very highly of him. I don't want to say it's a safe pick. I think it's a good pick. Very seldom do you talk about offensive linemen being good football players. You talk about them being athletic or size or speed or strength, but Luke, he's a good football player. He understands angles, he's got very good technique and he's been…I don't want to say he's been born and bred to be an NFL football player but he's going to be here shortly."

(inaudible) "We got word last night that we thought Kansas City was going to kind of go into the direction of (Eric) Fischer. Eric is a really good player too. He's got a lot of positive qualities and he's going to be a really good football player. I wasn't too completely surprised. We were happy that Luke fell to us like you said being a big school guy, playing in the SEC, playing against some of the best pass rushers not only in the conference the last three years but on his own team. You have Damontre Moore who's had a ton of sacks this year, as well as you play against Von Miller every day in practice as a freshman."

(Advantage, disadvantage, or does it not matter that he didn't play his senior year?) "The advantage is I think it's only going to make him better. He still has a ceiling. His ceiling is that he's going to get better and better. He's only been there for three years and he's only twenty one years old, so I think it's an advantage that we don't have a finished product."

(Critics are going to say he's still a right tackle. Can you just defend it in terms of the importance now of right tackle now a days?) "Yeah, the importance is kind of what we said. Teams can bring pressure from either side and it helps our offensive coordinator where if we don't have to chip on their right side we can put more players into routes. Having two tackles, you see what San Francisco has done with Anthony Davis, they just gave him a long term deal and paid him quite a bit of money. And the way the new CBA is now you can take a tackle, you can take a non-valued position higher because it's not as big a financial obligation so it doesn't limit you in the salary cap, it doesn't limit you with cash, and from that aspect it's great. To have two really good offensive tackles is a good problem to have."

(You were also on board with taking Fischer had Kansas City taken Joeckel?) "Yeah."

(Any chance you'll move back into the first round?) "We're going to wait and see what happens here in the next twenty or so picks and we'll see if there's an opportunity to present itself but…"

(I thought you said you weren't going to trade up?) "We prefer not to, but you never know."

(You were awfully candid on Monday with everything you said. You sounded upbeat about the tackles. Is that just your style?) "I can start lying to you if you want. Do you want me to start lying to you? I want to be honest with you guys and obviously there comes a point in time where if it's something that's going to hurt us in terms of strategic or something like then I can't tell you. But I want to be honest with you guys as much as I can."

(Did these guys look even better when you looked at all the other guys around them in terms of injuries?) "As you get further in the draft you get more and more what we call red flags in terms of different things. Somebody asked me about play history and that's a red flag and guys that don't have a whole lot of experience, as well as injuries. When we get into the second, third, fourth, fifth round when you're picking later in the draft you're going to have to take some of those guys and there's going to be some issues there, but it wasn't just about him (Joeckel) being safe. This is a really good football player."

Head coach Gus Bradley:

(Opening statement) "Obviously we're very excited with our pick. Luke's outstanding. We brought him in here, we had a chance to meet with him, one of the few teams that did, spent a lot of time with him and really liked his whole competitive edge that he had. Outland Trophy winner, went against some of the best competition in the SEC week in and week out and really showed up. We had him rated as our top guy on the board and for us to get him as the second pick was truly outstanding for us."

nice if we can keep it as is, at his comfort level. He's a good player now. That's how you build organizations. That's how you build teams, with top picks in the offensive and defensive line. And we feel like we have one in Eugene (Monroe) and now to get Luke (Joeckel) to add to that it's a great move for us. We're headed in the right direction with that."

(At what point do you feel….) "Dave will go on that but I know we felt comfortable about two positions that were on our board. We felt really comfortable so we were ready for either one. Obviously Fisher is a good player, we felt very strongly about him as well, but we had Luke on our board higher. When they made the pick and he was available to us it didn't take very long for us to make that phone call."

(Would it have been the same deal had they took Joeckel? "We had him (Fisher) rated high too. We were ready for either one. I'd be remiss by not saying that we felt like he was a good player too because he was. Fisher was a good player."

(So he would have likely been your pick had Luke gone first?) "Yeah."

(On Luke Joeckel) "I've said we want to find really competitive guys and I know he's a soft-spoken guy when you meet him for the first time, but his competitive edge on the field and when you sit down and visit with him we want to have guys that really love football. That's what he brings. He's extremely competitive, tough, reliable, smart, those three things that we look for in our guys he possesses. Outland Trophy winner like I said before, he's got really good speed. George Yarno, our offensive line coach, absolutely loves him. His movement skills and we run the zone scheme with some gap schemes up front and we feel like he'll be a good fit for that. He's got really good feet, controls his body really well and we feel like he's a guy who's going to play for a long time."

(How long did you meet with Luke Joeckel?) "Initially my first meeting was about forty minutes and then we visited again. I sat with him before we went into Dave's office and spoke to him for another twenty five minutes, and I felt really good about him."

(What did you think about him?) "He's very confident but it's not ego-driven. Very confident and he understands that he feels like he's got some areas to improve but he's confident in his ability. And I think by going against guys like Ron Miller every day in practice and some of the SEC's competition that he's gone against I think he feels like this is the next step for him. He welcomes the challenge, team player, and I think he's going to bring a little edge to our guys."

(inaudible) "Both of those guys did. We felt they were good fits for us so that was it. We just felt like he's really a good player now on tape and he's a good fit."

(He has a nastiness about him. Is that a concern?) "I think you hear that out there about his nastiness and I suppose when you meet him and you see him in some of his interviews and things like that that you don't feel that from him. He's a good man now. He is a good man, but when you put the pads on him you see it. Some of it is what they did at Texas A&M so we even went back to 2011 when he was protecting for Tannehill. That's what we looked back at and we saw. We saw it the previous year as well but it showed up then. He's just a different man when he puts those pads on. There's no doubt that he has nastiness. Every day you see him he's just quiet and very strong. You'll get a chance to meet him and visit with him and you'll feel it."

(On open competition) "You may see that. You may see that. We're just going to get the best guys on the field whatever their position, but that's what we felt. We felt that Luke could play left or right tackle and I think Eugene (Monroe) is a good player. We feel strong about him. He had a good three days in our mini-camp and I know his comfort level there. Just like all our guys, they know there's competition. I would hope that Eugene doesn't focus and go, 'okay now I've got to pick it up we just drafted a second pick in the draft.' I'd rather have it where Eugene says, 'I'm trying to be the best I can be and let's go, it doesn't matter who we bring in.' And I think he would share that same sentiment. We'll put it together and we'll get a chance to see Luke in our scheme and how it fits all together, but they'll both have a role. Believe me."

(Inaudible) "I know during the process we went back and forth on him. I know that we looked at him but I think for the most part if you asked Dave he would say Luke was our guy."

(Was this position the most important building block…) "We thought he was the best player. Regardless of need we said that in the beginning we were going to try to stick to our plan of drafting the best player that's available at that time, and it just so happened that Luke was there for us. He was the best player and our top player on our chart as we went through it, and it's a need where we need competition. He fit the bill."

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