Luke Joeckel, if you are reading this, please listen carefully. You can still be a solid left tackle in the NFL.
It may not be in Jacksonville with the Jaguars after the 2016 season, but there is still hope for your professional career. If you need some inspiration, then look no further than Eric Fisher.
You remember Fisher, the player taken first overall in the 2013 NFL Draft? He has had difficulties just like you, but, finally, the light turned on for the big left tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs and now, after three seasons in the league, Fisher hopes for there to be a steady incline in his play.
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This may hurt a little bit, but the 2013 first round draft class as a whole has been mediocre at best.
Maybe you can find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. But for Jaguars fans, like myself, we want more than what we see on a weekly basis. It’s nothing against you – you are a likeable guy and did a better job at your position last season until Week 17 – but it might be time to move on and let Kelvin Beachum take over your role in the offense.
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I’m sure playing guard will be an adjustment, but maybe that’s the best place for you in the lineup.
As Max Meyer of NFL.com explained:
“Fisher stepped up big time in Year three though, displaying massive improvement while being shifted across three different positions on the offensive line.
"The Chiefs have already exercised his fifth-year option, banking on further progression. It helps that Fisher is exuding confidence heading into training camp.”
While you have not been extended past your rookie deal, you still have a chance to be an impactful player in Jacksonville.
It all depends on how you look at this opportunity. Maybe Fisher serves as a motivator, someone who can help you be the best you can be. And in the end, it helps you get another deal here in town, or it will mean you can find your niche with another team.
Luke, it hasn’t been fair at times how you have been treated. You cannot replace a legend in Tony Boselli. No one can. But many of us thought by now you would be a top 15 tackle in this league. You aren’t there just yet. You don’t need to be the best – you just need to be better than you were the last three seasons.
I’m almost positive you can agree about that, can’t you?
There are three weeks until the Jaguars open training camp and you, my friend, are going to be the most scrutinized player on the field.
It comes with the territory. Playing left tackle in the NFL is one of the most important jobs any player has. You are protecting your quarterback, your leader and the team’s future. That alone should inspire you to play harder, get stronger and learn to block better.
Should you accept this challenge and prove this season – year four – is the best you have ever had as a professional, I guarantee there will be a reward at the end of the season.
Who knows, you could win yourself a contract extension. You could win a starting spot on the 2017 team. Or, you could be traded to a contender. But it’s up to you how this season plays out.
I know, and the rest of the Jacksonville Jaguars fan base knows, it’s up to you as to what happens.
All we can say is, please choose wisely.