Since trading the No. 1 pick to the Los Angeles Rams on April 20th, the Titans main objective was to discern which offensive tackle they think would translate the best.
The Titans did just that, and got “their guy”, Jack Conklin, Thursday night in Chicago. As soon as the Cleveland Browns were on the clock at the number eight slot, the Titans and Browns materialized a trade quickly that was almost surely already in place if the Draft fell a certain way.
Inside the Iggles
With Tampa Bay (No.9), New York (No.10), and New Orleans (No.13) all having a need at offensive line, the Titans decided to make the semi-large leap to fill a huge hole. As the Titans moved up, many thought the move from Jon Robinson was to grab Laremy Tunsil, the heralded best tackle in the Draft, and the guy the Titans would have taken at No.1.
Just before the Draft began, one of the most bizzare Draft night blunders occurred as Laremy Tunsil’s twitter was apparently hacked. A picture of a man, that later Tunsil admitted was him in a interview with Suzy Kolber, was wearing a gas mask on attached to a bong. The post was deleted shortly after it’s appearance, although the fiasco mixed with a history of off the field concerns lasted in NFL general manager’s minds.
Tunsil was not taken through the first five picks, and then continued to drop after the Baltimore Ravens chose tackle Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame instead. As the Titans moved into the No.8 spot, there was no doubt offensive line was going to be the choice. Two clear choices remained between Conklin and Tunsil, and the Titans went with the Michigan State star.
“We’ve liked Jack for a while here now,” Robinson said. “We thought, even spinning back to when I got the job, we talked about tough, accountable, team-first guys, and we thought he embodied that to the nth degree.“
Conklin brings a toughness and work ethic the Titans and head coach Mike Mularkey seemed to fall in love with. A walk on at one of the most premier programs in the country in Michigan State, Conklin won the left tackle job and started 38 of 39 games over three years.
The 6’6″, 325 pound Conklin was a First Team All-American selection in 2015 and found himself against the best competition in huge games such as the Rose Bowl, Big Ten Championship game, the Cotton Bowl, and the College Football Playoff.
In a conference call with reporters, Conklin described his relationship with the Titans through the Draft process:
“Ever since I went and took a visit down to Tennessee, I fell in love with the program and everything they’re trying to build there, And I had a sense after I left that that was going to be the organization I was going to end up with.”
Conklin is expected to start at right tackle for the Titans, and help solidify a line to protect quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was continually battered last year, that resulted in knee injuries causing him to miss 4 games.
In exchange for the No.8 pick, the Titans traded the 15th overall selection, a third-round pick (76th), and a second-round pick in 2017. The Titans also received a sixth-round selection (176th) from the Browns in the trade.