(The opinions and analysis contained in this feature are those of the author and others credited and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department)
Pressure is a relative thing when it comes to Luke Joeckel.
Yes, the Texas A&M left tackle is the top-rated player at the deepest position in this year’s NFL Draft class. Yes, the 6-foot-6, 306-pound winner of the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best offensive line last season is good enough that he could be the first pick overall on April 25.
But real pressure is blocking for your twin brother, which is what Joeckel did at Arlington (Texas) High School – where Matt Joeckel, who is two minutes older than Luke, was indeed the quarterback.
“Actually, I’ve got a pretty good story about that,” Luke Joeckel said at the NFL Scouting Combine when asked about allowing his brother to be sacked. “My junior year, I was pancaking this guy. I’m pancaking him, and Matt bounces out of the pocket, and I pancake the guy right into Matt’s legs. I get up and instead of him yelling at me, I started yelling at him, saying, ‘You gave me a sack. You’ve got to be a better athlete than that.’
“He never chewed me out for giving up sacks. I chewed him out once for making me give up a sack. That’s kind of like how our relationship is.”
And football is a family affair when it comes to the Joeckel clan. His older brother, David Jr., played O-line at DePauw. His father, David, was a three-year starter on the offensive line at Texas Tech. His grandfather, Reece Washington, played tight end at Texas Tech.
Here are some other highlights from Joeckel’s media session at the combine:
Q: How do you feel about the possibility of being the first tackle selected in the draft?
A: “Yeah, definitely coming into this thing I wanted to be the first tackle taken in the draft. Now I know it’s a long process until then. I’m trying to do every single thing right to make sure that happens. I know it’s a competition between (Central Michigan’s Eric) Fisher and against the other guys, you know (Oklahoma’s) Lane Johnson. It’s a good type of competition between all of us. That’s one of the fun parts about the combine – the competition aspect of it, going against some of the best athletes at your position in the country.”
Q: What would it mean to be the first pick overall?
A: “It’s just crazy to think about. Starting football in the second grade, you don’t really think about that kind of stuff. Football has been huge for me my entire life. I actually love the game. Just getting to this, this has been a dream come true just coming to play in the NFL. Being in this situation is just, I can’t even imagine it.”
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Matt (he is a backup QB for the Aggies behind Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel)?
A: “We are an extremely competitive family. I grew up probably fighting multiple times a day with my twin brother. When we were little, we were closer in size – only about five or 10 pounds apart. Now we are about 70, 80 pounds, so he doesn’t really mess with me much anymore. We are a very competitive family and pretty physical with each other.”
Q: What do you like about playing on the offensive line?
A: “I love offensive line. Growing up I always thought I was too athletic for the position. I was a quarterback in junior high. There are two teams for junior high because 100 kids try out, and we were the quarterbacks for both teams. But then I always ended up on offensive line, just because I was the biggest guy on the team. The offensive line is what I was born to play. I loved the physical aspect of it. You finish every play with a one-on-one block. There are not many other positions on the field like that. I love that part of it. I’m a background guy, and that’s why I belong on the offensive line.”
Q: Why did you feel compelled to write a letter to the A&M fans when you decided to leave school after your junior season?
A: “I thought they deserved it. A&M gave me everything I asked for and more. The 12th Man there, that fan base, it’s one of the best in the entire country. I’m so happy I chose A&M, and I’m so happy with my three years there. I felt like they deserved it. I was not going to get a chance to come back to College Station before I took off and started training and everything. I needed some kind of closure. I’m glad I did that.”