We all knew that Thursday’s NFL draft first round would be intriguing. Little did we know just how intriguing it would be.
And while it was projected No. 3 pick Laremy Tunsil that garnered all the headlines after a whirlwind of a night, it was the Tennessee Titans that threw a wrinkle into the mix after yet another trade.
The Titans traded up from the No. 15 spot to No. 8, which led you to believe that they had their eye on someone in particular. Sure enough, they did.
Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin was Tennessee’s pick and a good one at that. There were several pressing needs heading into the draft, and there’s no doubt that offensive line was one of them. Conklin will add a ton of value at tackle, as he’ll bring two aspects to the table that are essential in a lineman: tough and aggressive.
Of course, the Conklin selection also hammers home priority No. 1 for the Titans, which is protecting star quarterback Marcus Mariota.
While it was feasible that general manager Jon Robinson and company could look to the defensive side of the ball to add a playmaker in the secondary, you sort of knew that offense was going to be a bit more important with the first round pick. The Titans likely would have looked at wide receiver as well had they stayed at No. 15, but we’ll never know.
The question is, did the Titans give up too much to trade up for Conklin? Tennessee traded a third round pick in this year’s draft, as well as a second round pick in next year’s draft. Those aren’t bad picks.
However, the dilemma for Robinson and his staff was easy to understand. There’s no chance that Conklin would have made it to No. 15, as the New York Giants had already been rumored to scoop him up at No. 10.
If Tennessee wanted Conklin, it had to pay the price to get him. And that’s exactly what it did.
You also have to remember that the Titans are still set up nicely with draft picks after the deal with the Los Angeles Rams. So while giving up two valuable picks to get Conklin may make some scratch their heads, if that’s who the Titans identified as the best available player for them, then it’s fine.
The best thing about Conklin? If he plays to his potential, he’ll make Mariota and running back DeMarco Murray a whole lot better. And that’s a scary thought.
So if anyone wishes to overreact and say that the Titans gave up way too much for Conklin, let them do just that.
Because if Conklin proves to be the player that everyone thinks he’ll be, then it will once again be yet another touch of genius by Robinson.