The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft has concluded and Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson has made his inaugural first-round pick.
Tennessee, who traded away the first-overall selection in this year’s draft in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Rams, were set to choose 15th in the order on Thursday. Robinson, unsatisfied with waiting until 15, struck a deal with the Cleveland Browns to move up to the eighth spot. In addition to swapping first-rounders this year, the Titans recieved a sixth-round pick (176) in this year’s draft in exchange for a third-round pick (76) this year and a second-round pick in 2017.
“And, with the eighth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select….”
Jack Conklin, the offensive tackle out of Michigan State University, was snatched up by the Music City’s NFL franchise after Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley was taken by the Baltimore Ravens at six and the position’s top-prospect, Laremy Tunsil, had an inexplicable fall from grace.
Conklin’s story is a unique one. The former Spartan walk-on turned first-round draft choice became the first Michigan State offensive lineman to be taken on opening day since 1989, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“It was my dream and, honestly, it’s what I set forward to do,” Conklin said in an interview with titansonline.com. “I remember when I sat down in Coach [Mike] Dantonio’s office and we went over my all-time dreams at Michigan State. One of my dreams was, ‘Win a national championship;’ the other was, ‘Be a first-round pick.'”
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) April 29, 2016
Conklin signals the start of the new Titans regime under Robinson and coach Mike Mularkey. He will be used to bolster an offensive line that struggled in both pass protection and run blocking that will be under the tutelage of new offensive line coach and Hall-of-Famer, Russ Grimm.
And, the young mauler has a message for beleaguered Titans fans:
“I am going to be your old-school, blue-collar type offensive tackle and I am going to put people on the ground,’’ Conklin said. “Now it is time to go to work, and time to prove to everyone in Titans Nation that I can be a guy they can count on for a long time.”