Tennessee Titans Add Jack Conklin In NFL Draft To Protect Marcus Mariota
Jack Conklin had seen his draft stock rise and fall throughout the 2016 NFL Draft process and ended up with the Tennessee Titans at No. 8 overall. It was a move that was obviously about protecting franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota.
It was obvious that the Titans needed some offensive line help after Mariota was sacked 38 times. Obviously that number could have been a lot higher, but they need to cut down from that number. He is the type of quarterback that can make plays the longer he is on his feet, so more protection could mean bigger plays.
Tennessee has to feel very good about their offensive line with a rookie like Conklin coming in. He will be a massive presence for them immediately in 2016.
From college walk-on to first-round #NFLDraft pick.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) April 29, 2016
At 6-foot-6 and 308 pounds, Conklin is exactly the kind of piece that the Titans can build their line around. He has an excellent work ethic and his leadership was evident during his career with the Michigan State Spartans. Tennessee is a very young team, but they are bringing in the right kind of players to get themselves back to relevance.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network believes that Conklin is a great fit alongside of Taylor Lewan on the offensive line.
“I think Taylor Lewan’s job is safe for now. Because with this kid, I think Lewan stays on the left side and Conklin plays right tackle, and now you have bookend tackles for Marcus Mariota.”
On the outside looking in, the Titans may very well have one of the best offensive tackle duos in the entire NFL. They have made sure that Mariota feels comfortable and this pick ensures that the Titans will have one stud lineman on both sides.
Laremy Tunsil was expected to be the top offensive lineman taken in the draft, but issues away from football pushed him down. A picture was posted on Tunsil’s social media that showed him smoking from a gas mask. That was enough to scare some teams away from him and made Conklin the second offensive lineman taken in the draft.
Titans: 3 of last 4 first-round picks have been OL (Jack Conklin, Taylor Lewan, Chance Warmack) pic.twitter.com/Jmh1VjeLIJ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 29, 2016
Looking at the upcoming NFL season, it is hard to see how the Titans would make the postseason. They are playing in a division where the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars are all viewed as superior teams. That obviously doesn’t mean that the Titans can’t shock the NFL, but it won’t be easy.
Conklin has all of the talent in the world and there is plenty of upside with him and a lot of room to grow.
There are still a lot of needs for the Titans to try to fill throughout the remainder of the draft. Conklin fills one of their major needs, but the rebuild is still a work in progress. Even though there is still work to be done, Titans fans should be very happy that their team was able to bring in a piece like Conklin.
"You got your bookend tackles for Mariota."
— NFL (@NFL) April 29, 2016
While there are a lot of qualities to be excited about with Conklin, there are also reasons to be concerned. Conklin’s quickness has been questioned at times and faster edge rushers could get around him. His footwork will need some work in order to compete with the better NFL defensive linemen as well.
Expect to see Conklin work as hard as he possibly can to take the next step for the Titans. He won’t end up being a bust, but may not end up being one of the best linemen in the NFL either. Mariota will be more protected following this move no matter what Conklin ends up working his way into.
What do you think of Jack Conklin heading to the Tennessee Titans with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft? Do you think he was the right pick or did the Titans reach for him? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast]