The Browns need help on the offensive line, tackle especially. The best tackle on the market is Jack Conklin. So seeing the rumors already starting about the Browns interest in Conklin is not very surprising. The first to say that Conklin is on the Brows radar is Jake Trotter, who covers the Browns for ESPN.
Obviously, this had Twitter all abuzz on a Thursday afternoon. Browns fans know what this team needs most and when rumors fly, they are on them. The question. Is Jack Conklin the best lineman for what the Browns offense is supposed to be?
Jack Conklin, T, Titans
NCAA/NFL Awards: First Team All-American (2015), First Team All Big 10 (2015), 2016 NFL All-Rookie Team, NFL First-Team All-Pro (2016)
Jack Conklin has been a steady force at right tackle for the Tennessee Titans since drafted number eighth overall in 2016. Over four seasons with the Titans, he has started all 57 games he has played. Conklin did miss seven games in 2018 due to a concussion and a pair of knee injuries. Tennessee decided that they would not risk the fifth-year option and now Conklin is on the open market. The Browns need a right tackle and a 25-year-old former all-pro just might fit the bill. But can he work in the zone scheme?
Are Browns a Fit?
With new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski in place, the Browns will run a form of the Mike Shanahan zone-based run scheme this season. While most might see Conklin as a more straight-ahead blocker based on his time in Tennessee, he actually was part of a zone scheme at Michigan State. He was so effective in that system that he was drafted eighth overall. Here is what Timmy Noonan of Cheeseheadtv.com had to say after scouting the big man.
“On pulling run plays, Conklin looked to have the quickness necessary to excel in the NFL run game. However, as games wore on, he looked slightly slower in the pass game. He would occasionally find himself chasing speed rushers off the edge after a slow reaction to the snap. He will never be dominant in changing direction, but he has a foundation that just needs to be more consistent.”
“His 25 reps at the combine paired with his low-300s weight translate to a zone-scheme lineman in the NFL. The Spartans used Conklin on a number of run plays in which he would pull across the line and seal the edge. Combined with average quickness, that experience may lend itself to a move inside to guard early on for Conklin.”
At this point, Conklin has undoubtedly proven to be a bit better than average, but it shows that he has the experience and was thought to fit the zone scheme. Is it possible that Conklin in this scheme could revert to All-Pro status? Or is it possible that knee injuries suffered in 2018 hinder Conklin’s ability to pull as needed? It looks as though the Browns tend to believe he can rekindle his old Michigan State days if they are already getting rumors out that he is at the top of the free-agent shopping list. What say you Browns fans?
Market Value(Spotrac): 15 million per year
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