One of the most impressive offensive lineman in recent Michigan State history just added another notch to his already impressive belt on Thursday night: being selected in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ex-Spartan Jack Conklin was selected as the 8th-overall in the process by the Tennessee Titans, who themselves had to trade up with the Cleveland Browns in order to get into a position to get the highly-desired former MSU player.
Things weren’t always so easy for the big man from Plainwell. He was originally a walk on there and had to fight his way up to a starting role at Michigan State, eventually being named an All-American and one of the most well-respected (and, at times, feared) players on the Spartans’ roster.
With the pick, Conklin becomes the second offensive lineman from Michigan State to be drafted in the highly-publicized opening round since 1989 when Tony Mandarich was the No. 2 pick of that draft. He also becomes the highest-selected Michigan State player selected in any draft since 2003 when Charles Rogers was famously (and as a betoken of doom) drafted by the Detroit Lions No. 2 overall.
As for where he landed, Conklin himself claims that he couldn’t be happier. He spoke with the Titans’ fansite, TitansOnline.com, about his excitement for his upcoming professional playing career in Tennessee.
“Tennessee, going through this whole process, that was the team I wanted to be with,” Conklin said. “For it happen the way it did, trading back from (No.) 1 to 15 and now up to 8th, it’s pretty crazy. And I couldn’t be happier.
“Once I left there, I knew right then and there I wanted to be a Tennessee Titan. I was hoping. Luckily, it worked out the way it did. Ever since then, I’d set my heart on Tennessee.”
After the drama that ensued when former first-overall pick Laremy Tunsil suffered a public relations nightmare just minutes before the start of the draft, Tennessee made their trade with the Browns in order to insure they could get the best available prospect for their needs, and Conklin fit the bill perfectly.
“I think we had earmarked Conklin for a while now…,” Titans general manager John Robinson said after the pick. “We just felt like it really clicked and it was a good marriage for us.”