Vikings draft preview: Offensive linemen

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2013 - 8:26 AM

Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel is expected to go No. 1 overall to Kansas City.

The hot topic: A right time for left tackles?

The Chargers have the 11th pick and a need at left tackle in a draft that has three elite players at that particular position.

No problem, right? Well, not exactly. The Chargers actually might have to trade up to get one of them in the draft's first round on April 25.

Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel is expected to go No. 1 overall to Kansas City. If the Lions use the fifth pick on Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher rather than Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, the Cardinals most likely would complete the run on available franchise left tackles by taking Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson at No. 7.

That’s not to say the rest of the first round won’t produce its share of future offensive line starters. Strength at right tackle and guard could stretch the total number of first-round offensive linemen to seven or eight.

National champion Alabama will have two offensive linemen taken in the first round. D.J. Fluker, a 6-5, 339-pound right tackle, could go No. 12 to Miami, which will move right tackle Jonathan Martin to left tackle to replace the departed Jake Long. Meanwhile, Alabama’s Chance Warmack, a dominant run-blocking guard, might go earlier than No. 12. Tennessee, which still is looking to beef up the interior of its line, could take Warmack at No. 10. North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper also is an option if he’s still available.

THE FRONT-RUNNER

Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

Joeckel is similar in size (6-6, 306), agility, foot speed and character to Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick of the Vikings a year ago. But in a draft that’s virtually devoid of quarterbacks, Joeckel rockets to the top of the pile. Like Kalil coming out of Southern California, Joeckel isn’t known for his run blocking. Then again, which left tackle ever is? Joeckel is a willing run blocker and will get better as he improves his strength to the NFL level.

THE CONTENDERS

Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said Joeckel, Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson are so tightly bunched that it’s “splitting hairs” to pick the best one. Fisher (6-7, 306) should end up protecting either Detroit’s Matthew Stafford or Arizona’s Carson Palmer.

D.J. Fluker, Alabama

His full name is Danny Lee Jesus Fluker. And he’s without a doubt a right tackle. At 6-5, 339 pounds — 61 fewer than he tipped the scales at as an eighth-grader — he’s a run-blocking mauler.

Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

Power, athleticism and foot speed supposedly make up for Cooper being on the shorter side (6-2). A four-year starter at left guard, Cooper could go No. 8 to Buffalo, which lost Andy Levitre via free agency.

THE SLEEPER

Luke Marquardt, Azusa Pacific

Nobody has been drafted from this NAIA school since the Chiefs took running back Christian Okoye in the second round in 1987. But the 6-8, 315-pound Marquardt, a promising left tackle prospect, has drawn a lot of attention from NFL scouts. He projects as a possible Day 3 selection. It helps that he has been coached by Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman Jackie Slater.

 

  • related content

  • Video: Who's the best offensive lineman?

    Friday April 19, 2013

    Where is the best offensive lineman and who will get him? Dan Wiederer and Mark Craig analyze the draft.

  • Vikings understood value of keeping Loadholt

    Tuesday April 16, 2013

    Why re-signing the right tackle was a top priority and what's next in the development of guard Brandon Fusco.

  • Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel might be the No. 1 overall draft pick when the Kansas City Chiefs make their selection.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta 3 Bottom 12th Inning
Cincinnati 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit 5 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 15
Miami 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Colorado 4
San Diego 0 Top 8th Inning
Arizona 4
LA Angels 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Oakland 1
NY Mets 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Los Angeles 2
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 0 2nd Qtr 0:35
Seattle 28
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 0:40
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 53 4th Qtr
Phoenix 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close