Everyone knows who the number one offensive tackle in the draft is. Behind him? Jack Conklin of Michigan State might be number two, showing up on the radars of the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
Conklin has worked out or will pay a visit to one of these teams, and it seems to be like he’s rising on the draft boards recently, and some might think he’ll be ending up in the top 10. Really?
Conklin wasn’t supposed to be here. He received zero offers from FBS schools to join on scholarship. He was a walk-on for Michigan State before getting his scholarship midway through his redshirt season. He was good in 2014 but sublime in 2015, doing extremely well in the big wins over Oregon and Ohio State, especially late in the game, when his hustle and drive kept him going against defensive players who simply ran out of gas.
Conklin relies on three things: Size (6’6, 308 lbs.), great technique and his strength. However, he’s not too good at defending against quick edge blitzes, not to mention struggles when pass rushers pull off a counter move or do something that isn’t just straightforward sprinting at the quarterback. He’s a good athlete, but not special, but in terms of total package, he’s pretty close to the best thing this draft has to offer in the LT position.
The thing about Conklin is he might not be a left tackle right away, or maybe at all. His weaknesses might make it risky to turn him into a starting left tackle right out of the bat for teams afraid of taking risks. At right tackle, however, he’s probably going to be a starter right away, and whatever teams told him during their meets might help him make his mind about where he’d like to end up, although there’s no one asking him for personal preferences.