Few familiar faces at this year's NFL combine

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2013 - 11:06 PM

Without an Andrew Luck or a Robert Griffin III among them, this year's NFL draft class operates more in anonymity.


Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel answers a question during a news conference at the NFL combine.

Photo: Michael Conroy, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

INDIANAPOLIS - Need a few quick nuggets on Luke Joeckel, the left tackle we'll all learn a lot more about over the next couple months? During his brief cameo in front of reporters at the NFL combine on Thursday, the Texas A&M standout offered a polite introduction.

For starters, Joeckel expressed admiration for the way Browns tackle Joe Thomas plays.

"He's got that brute strength, lumberjack strength," Joeckel said. "And I kind of pride myself on that, too."

Joeckel also made sure to note the conditioning improvements he noticed from playing with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the kind of slippery, ad-libbing quarterback who forces linemen to hold blocks.

Oh, and if you want a cute anecdote to top things off, consider that Joeckel spent his high school days in Arlington, Texas, protecting the blind side of his twin brother, Matt, 2 minutes his senior.

"I've got a pretty good story about that," Joeckel said. "My junior year I was pancaking this guy 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. 'You gave me a sack? You've got to be a better athlete than that!'"

OK. Scrawl strong, durable and intensely driven into the Joeckel scouting report.

And there you have the thumbnail profile of a prospect who could become the No. 1 pick, a soft-spoken, hard-working kid who may not wow you with his highlight reel. (After all, when was the last time a stadium rose in unison for a powerful pass protection punch?) But from a productivity standpoint, he's as good as it gets.

So maybe Joeckel is a fitting entry point for a 2013 draft that is deep and loaded with in-the-trenches talent but lacks that alluring star.

The sizzle may be absent, yet for many NFL coaches and general managers, the usual buzz has been replaced by an eye-opening surplus of value.

Said Vikings GM Rick Spielman: "Just because you don't have the RG3s, the Andrew Lucks or those specific playmakers, there are still a lot of guys who don't get the recognition but can make a huge impact. They're just not at splash positions."

Need a home run running back? Alabama's Eddie Lacey is a human wrecking ball but may wind up as the only back drafted in the first round.

Looking for a few freakish receivers to gravitate toward? Playmakers are present here, such as Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson and Cal's Keenan Allen and Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton. But they won't generate buzz like Julio Jones and A.J. Green did two years ago.

And what about that quarterback class walking in the shadows of last year's Luck-Robert Griffin III combo? Matt Barkley and Geno Hayes are intriguing talents but with far more uncertain futures. So as of now, it wouldn't be a shock if this was the first draft since 2000 in which a quarterback wasn't selected in the top 10.

The Vikings own the 23rd pick overall. Which isn't a bad place to be in a draft where the talent gap from the fifth pick through the end of the opening night won't be too wide.

"I think we're going to get an excellent football player at 23," Spielman said.

Furthermore, a record number of juniors (73) have declared, enhancing the draft pool significantly. And the quality of depth at several key positions -- defensive tackle, receiver, linebacker -- could provide the Vikings terrific options on the draft's second and third days.

Which is why Spielman lit up Thursday when mentioning the extra fourth-round pick he possesses before later noting a desire to add a 10th selection to the pile.

Sure, at this time last year, the Vikings owned the No. 3 pick, which allowed them to lock in on Matt Kalil.

"Last year was pretty easy to figure out," Spielman said. "This year will be fun, because there's so many different ways it could go with what falls into your lap."

And just the opportunity to fiddle with options on draft weekend gives the Vikings GM a surge of anticipation, knowing he will have to constantly size up each position and readjust the team's big board.

"To me," Spielman said, "that's all part of working the board on draft day, when you see the depth and the options you have as you get ready to come on the clock."

  • related content

  • NFL combine schedule

    Thursday February 21, 2013

    When: Through Tuesday

  • Spielman: Most important free agents will be his own

    Thursday February 21, 2013

    For those anticipating a Vikings shopping spree when the NFL's free-agent market opens next month, General Manager Rick Spielman delivered another reminder Thursday that the team's plan is to build...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question