This off-season, the Seahawks approach to free agency was mostly bargain bin shopping. The did splurge on one player, a former first-round pick who was largely a bust in Jacksonville; offensive lineman Luke Joeckel.
The Seahawks biggest area of need entering the 2017 NFL season was their offensive line. They nearly landed T.J. Lang before he signed with the hometown Detroit Lions. But even before Lang had made a decision, the Seahawks made the investment in Joeckel for one year at $8 million.
There is still some guessing in where Joeckel will play. After three disappointing seasons as the Jaguars’ left tackle, Joeckel slid inside to left guard. He only played four games before a knee injury ended his season, but he showed some promise at the position.
The team seems very excited about second-year player George Fant, so most assume Joeckel will start the year at guard and move outside if necessary. Joeckel graded out decently by Pro Football Focus as a guard. Tom Cable called him one of the best guards in football last season. Make of that what you will.
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It is not hard to see why Joeckel was a number-two overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He fits the prototypical size and athleticism that teams covet as a left tackle, but struggled with his technique. This struggle leads to a susceptibility to the bull rush. Cable is well-known for his ability to teach good technique to newbies Fant and JR Sweezy.
Joeckel understands schemes well and has a high football IQ. He is excellent at picking up stunts, which was a real problem area for Fant last season. A seasoned vet like Joeckel should pair nicely with Fant, assuming he can stay healthy and improve his hand fighting.
Luke Joeckel was the priciest Seahawks acquisition this off-season. The team needs him to return most of that value, and if he can, the Seahawks offensive line should greatly improve.