Luke Joeckel patiently waited for more than two hours Friday morning as a group of former Texas A&M teammates sprinted, jumped and lifted weights in an attempt to impress the dozens of NFL coaches and scouts gathered at the Aggies’ indoor practice complex.
Joeckel, the offensive tackle who could be the top selection in next month’s NFL draft, decided to allow his testing results from last month’s NFL combine stand. Then, he and other linemen took orders from Oakland Raiders assistant coach Tony Sparano in the highly-anticipated position drills.
Joeckel immediately took center stage. Forty-five coaches representing all 32 teams watched at least part of Joeckel’s workout, as they scrutinized whether he had good footwork and quick hands, a nice burst and excellent leverage to thwart an NFL pass rush.
“For an offensive lineman, that’s the test,” Joeckel said of the drills, which capped off A&M’s annual pro timing day. “I think that’s all I needed to do today.”
But did Joeckel pass?
“I think he was impressive on the tape, and just watching him out here and getting a chance to visit with him, I think not only is he a good football player, he’s an impressive young man,” said Dennis Allen, a former Aggies football player who now is the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, who have the No. 3 overall pick behind Kansas City and Jacksonville.
“I think that’s the thing that when you look at him, that’s the thing that says this guy is going to make it in the National Football League.”
The Chiefs haven’t tipped their hand over the No. 1 pick, but this week, they waived their starting left tackle Eric Winston. Joeckel said Kansas City coaches are scheduled to work him out privately in College Station on March 22. The Raiders, at No. 3, also will spend extra time with him.
Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, along with Joeckel, are considered the top three tackles in the draft. Joeckel was the first to have his pro day. Fisher and Johnson work out for scouts next week.
A&M defensive end Damontre Moore also was heavily scrutinized as coaches determine whether he is worthy of a first-round pick.
Moore, who like Joeckel left A&M with a year of eligibility remaining, suffered through a poor combine in Indianapolis. He didn’t answer many questions with his workouts Friday.
Mike Mayock, the top draft analyst for the NFL Network, described Moore’s performance as “incomplete.”
Moore has gained 10 pounds — he’s up to 260 — since last month’s combine. He had 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press, an improvement from 12 in Indianapolis. Moore acknowledged that he was so upset after the bench press session at the combine that he “even cried, so I was a little baby. I cried around the corner and came back.”
But Moore’s bench press Friday still was a weak number for a defensive end; his 19 reps would have ranked second-from-last at the combine. On Friday, former A&M receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu (25) and safety Steven Campbell (22) both surpassed Moore’s bench press total.
Moore elected not to run the 40-yard dash Friday. He then aggravated a hamstring injury that he initially suffered in Indianapolis.
Running back Christine Michael and receiver Ryan Swope also worked out well in position drills. Both could go in the second day of the draft, in rounds two or three.
Michael found himself explaining why he overslept and missed some team interviews in Indianapolis. He said he and his agent have apologized to the teams, telling them the running back had been sick and drowsy from cold medication.