Earlier this offseason, I wrote an article comparing Conklin’s 2017 and 2018 film. I specifically took a look what he struggled with after his knee surgery in 2018 compared to 2017. The main point that I came away with in my film study was that he seemed to have lost a lot of lower body strength in 2018. He struggled to anchor against powerful bull rushers. As a result, it made for a rough couple of games against some of the premier pass rushers. In my previous article, I posted a good amount of videos, where Conklin was either run over or pushed all the way back into the pocket.
However in a recent interview, Jack addresses all the issues that I wrote about in my initial article. He admits that he was not healthy last season and worked this offseason to get back to his old self. Jack stated about his knee, “Feels better than it felt since before the surgery. I’m feeling way more confident in it. I’m feeling like I can sit down and take on bull rush. I feel strong, my legs are stronger than before I tore my ACL. I’m feeling good. I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be feeling better than I am right now.” QB Marcus Mariota has even said about Conklin, “He looks bigger, looks faster, looks stronger. Says a lot about what he did this offseason and it’s good to see it kind of come out here to practice.”
I came away from this interview feeling a lot more confident in Jack’s ability to return back to his All-Pro form. He literally checks off all the points that I wrote about. He worked hard this offseason to get stronger to take on the bull rush and seems to be confident in his knees again.
It is clear now that Conklin rushed himself back into play last season way to early. I am sure that Conklin wanted to be strong enough to handle the bull rush last year, but he just physically could not. That is why it was imperative for him to put in the work this offseason to get stronger. With this added strength, Conklin is looking to right the wrongs of last season and regain his status as an elite tackle this upcoming season. We still have a long way to go until the season starts, but it would appear that things trending up for Jack Conklin.