Tennessee Titans rookie right tackle Jack Conklin has been named a member of the 2016 Associated Press All-Pro team. He joins Chiefs WR/KR Tyreek Hill and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot as the only three rookies on the list.
On the morning of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Titans held the 15th overall selection, which they acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent the first overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams. During the draft, General Manager Jon Robinson agreed to a trade that would move the Titans up to the 8th overall pick, where they selected Conklin.
At Michigan State, Conklin was a dominant tackle who impacted nearly every team that Michigan State faced, including powerhouses like Oregon and Ohio State. He completely shut down fellow top 10 picks DeForest Buckner and Joey Bosa in those games.
During a conference call with Nashville media immediately following his selection, Conklin declared “I want to be the type of offensive lineman that players will remember after they face me.” In just one year with the Titans, he has achieved that and more.
Pro Football Focus gave Conklin a stellar 88.9 grade for the 2016 season. The site has him ranked as the fifth best tackle overall from this past season, and #1 among right tackles.
As I referred to them on my old site when Conklin was drafted, the Titans’ offensive line from 2014-2015 was a train wreck of epic proportions. The running game was completely non-existent, and every quarterback that played behind the lines put together by former GM Ruston Webster got killed.
In 2016, Marcus Mariota was sacked on less than 5% of the snaps he took, a major improvement from his rookie year when he was near the bottom of the NFL in this category. The Titans were also the 3rd best overall rushing team in the NFL this year in terms of yards per game, behind only Dallas and Buffalo. The addition of Conklin was instrumental in both of those improvements.
Additionally, Conklin perfectly fits the mold of the kind of player Jon Robinson wants to build the Titans around: tough, smart, and team-first.
Conklin told media members the day after he was drafted that “Extra work isn’t extra, it’s part of being an athlete. We want to make Tennessee special. We want it to be that kind of place.” He’s well on his way to achieving that goal, and the Associated Press has recognized him for it.