One of the keys to success for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2015 NFL season is how left tackle Luke Joeckel develops. Originally drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Joeckel was viewed as a "safe" pick and an instant starter in the NFL. He certainly was the latter, but wasn't without his growing pains.
Once the Jaguars traded veteran left tackle Eugene Monroe, Joeckel flashed on his normal left side of the offensive line against pass rusher Robert Quinn, but after a handful of plays Joeckel broke his ankle and his rookie season was done. More importantly, Joeckel's first real NFL offseason was spent rehabbing a lower leg injury, which prevented him from doing a lot of things young offensive lineman do their first real NFL offseason, which is adding good weight and getting stronger.
That showed up Joeckel's second season as he was inconsistent at best and dreadful at times, but overall he played better than most fans would lead to believe, but it still wasn't good enough. This offseason though, he finally gets what he missed last year.
"Having a healthy offseason has been huge," Joeckel told Jaguars.com's John Oehser.
"I definitely can see growth this offseason," Joeckel told Oehser. "Going into last season, I didn't feel like I had gotten stronger, gotten bigger and that I was ready to go out and play. This offseason, I can see it in the weight room, and I'm excited to get into OTAs and training camp and see where I am."
The offensive line was an issue for the Jaguars last season, but for the most part it was still a bunch of kids playing and learning the NFL game, including Joeckel. With a real offseason under his belt, and now by all accounts he's added a good bit of the "good weight" and the addition of offensive line coach Doug Marrone, fans should expect Joeckel to have a much better season than he did in 2014.
For the Jaguars, namely young quarterback Blake Bortles, Joeckel's improvement will be one of the key factors to watch in the 2015 season.