Position: Offensive tackle
School: Michigan State
Size: 6-6, 308 pounds
- Outstanding frame for the position.
- Powerful leg drive and a true pile pusher while run blocking.
- Cleaned up in the run game at Michigan State. Finisher. Gains an advantage and will run his man right into the ground.
- Three year starter and tough as nails. Mean player with a nasty streak.
- Lets far too many pass rushers into his frame rather than aggressively punching them away. This timidness forces him to play from behind and nullifies his length advantage. Must learn to maximize length to stick on the outside in the NFL.
- Change of direction skills are limited. Can be beaten by quick rushers that can pop inside.
- Lethargic feet. Looks like he's in slow motion at times in his kickslide. Will break down against speed in an effort to catch up.
- Lack of quick feet creates all kinds of balance issues. On the ground way too much.
This is what I'm talking about when I say Conklin is "timid" in pass protection. The ball is snapped and Conklin sets up his base and extends his arms, but then he just waits for Buckner to come to him. Buckner just slaps his earhole and gets around him.
Conklin didn't even raise his arms here. I'm really not sure what his plan was, but it didn't go well. He was totally shocked by the inside spin, which I mentioned above as one of his weaknesses. He's too slow to react to sudden changes.
If you like Conklin, this is why. He's at his best when he's asked to go forward and get somebody. You see that nasty streak and finishing ability here in the trenches.
Conklin's feet are routinely a few steps behind. He ends up way off balance here but gets away with it because the rusher didn't have much power. If he had any at all, Conklin ends up on his butt here. It will be a different story in the NFL.
Conklin was a frustrating evaluation for me. You watch him in the run game and he was flat dominant at times. He's a finisher and a bully. Then you see him in pass protection and all kinds of red flags pop up. He just doesn't look like he has the feet to keep up with speed off the edge. He's timid and doesn't use his length. Athletically, he tested pretty well which just makes him more frustrating.
Conklin's hype is at an all time high with the national draft media, but I can't see why. I would be very concerned to put him at right tackle on an island with an NFL pass rusher. He doesn't show the feet and change of direction skills needed to mirror top talents. He must learn to use his arms and hands to better his chances in pass protection.
I think there are some fixable things with Conklin, so my 2nd round grade comes with a bit of projection. Surely an NFL positional coach will clean up some of the hand/arm issues that I've seen. However, Conklin probably isn't getting too much lighter on his feet. That may be an issue that plagues him throughout his career and may even earn him looks at guard.
The Titans have been connected to Conklin. I'm not sure if they like him enough to take him at 15, but the homework has been done. If you take him at 15, he would enter the season as the starter at right tackle.
Round Grade: 2nd round
Expected draft slot: 10-25