NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans right tackle
And a whole lot more.
“Oh man,’’ said Conklin, the team’s first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. “Just understanding how much you have to prepare, just how much goes into each week. The NFL is different game.
“But I learned a lot in the last eight months. To be on my own, paying bills, and playing in the NFL. So much has happened. I got here in May, and it’s January. It all seemed so daunting at first, but it seems like it flew by.”
Selected eighth overall by the Titans out of Michigan State, it’s safe to say the 6-foot-6, 308-pounder exceeded expectations on an offensive line that allowed just 28 sacks in 2016 while paving the way for the NFL’s third-ranked rushing attack.
Conklin, in fact, finished the season as Pro Football Focus' highest-graded right tackle. He was named to PFF’s first-team All-Pro squad after allowing just two sacks all season.
“Quietly really good,’’ Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Conklin. “He did his job, didn't say a whole lot, but he did an outstanding job to be, really, put in there earlier than we had anticipated. He did a great job for us.”
“I think he deserves to go to the Pro Bowl this year,’’ Lewan said of Conklin. “The biggest compliment you can give in football is consistency, and Jack is Jack every single time and he plays at a level that rookies don’t play at. He plays at a level I didn’t play at when I was a rookie, and it was impressive. I expect Jack to be Jack next year.”
Conklin started all 16 games for the Titans during his rookie season.
“The performance of Jack Conklin has been remarkable at a position where rookies traditionally struggle,’” per Sam Monson of PFF. “He surrendered only two sacks all season and was flagged only twice, while showing some powerful run blocking.”
In 2017, Conklin wants to be even better while continuing to play with an edge.
“I learned a lot this year, but I think I still have a lot ahead of me,’’ Conklin said. “I have a lot to learn, and I can get even better. I am excited to see what the future holds.
“I think (as a team) we had a goal in mind coming in that we were going to pound people and be a physical team, and I think now the league knows what we are capable of.”