February 22, 2013 in Sports

Varied group of offensive linemen for NFL draft

Associated Press
 
Tags:NFL
Associated Press photo

Alabama lineman Barrett Jones is on the mend.
(Full-size photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – This year’s NFL rookie offensive linemen are chock full of stories and characters.

Luke Joeckel and Barrett Jones have the neatly trimmed hair, the clean-cut faces, the All-American pedigrees and have paved the way for Heisman Trophy winners.

Eric Fisher wants to show everyone that Central Michigan has prepared him just as well for the NFL as any of the perennial powerhouse programs.

D.J. Fluker makes people laugh off the field and grimace on it, and Kyle Long will spend this weekend trying to convince scouts he can add another chapter to the family’s legacy.

Yes, this draft class has a little bit of everything – except a consensus No. 1 pick.

“The way I’m looking at it, I want to get there. I am definitely striving to be the No. 1 pick, going through this entire process and playing this season and all that kind of stuff,” Joeckel said.

Most analysts believe the offensive and defensive linemen will make up the vast majority of this year’s first-round picks, but who goes where will likely depend on what teams need.

Texas A&M’s Joeckel is the straight-laced guy who pretty much sticks to the script on and off the field. He measured in at 6-foot-6, 306 pounds, a little lighter than he had hoped and perhaps a little lighter than the scouts would have liked, though he remains the tentative favorite to go No. 1.

Jones, an Alabama grad, enjoys life so much he even poked fun at reporters’ questions Thursday.

He has perhaps one of the rarest resumes in college football history – three national championship rings and three All-American selections at three different positions, twice on the first team, once on the third.

Yet his biggest hurdle is staying healthy. Jones can’t work out in Indy because he’s only six weeks into a four-month recovery from surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his left foot.

Fisher is trying to follow the lead of Joe Staley, another Central Michigan alum who made it big in the NFL.

Oregon’s Long, the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of Rams defensive lineman Chris Long, appears to be the next in the family lineage with an NFL resume.

Fluker, an early entry candidate from Alabama, has been rising quickly on draft boards and could continue to move up if he slims down. At the Senior Bowl, he was measured at 355 pounds.

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