Summary: Over the past three seasons, Conklin was one of the most steady and effective offensive linemen in the Big Ten. He broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2013, making three starts at right tackle and 10 on the left side. As a sophomore and junior, Conklin stayed at left tackle and improved his play as he gained experience as an all-conference selections for both seasons.
Conklin was a reliable pass protector for Connor Cook on a weekly basis and also contributed to the Spartans' balanced offense with contributions in the ground game. Conklin can struggle with unique defenders who present mismatch speed or athleticism. He had an ugly performance to close out the 2014 season as Baylor's Shawn Oakman had his way with him. Over the past couple of seasons, Maryland's Yannick Ngakoue had success against Conklin as well.
As a pass protector, Conklin is good at sustaining blocks once he gets his hands on defenders. Taking on defensive ends with decent but not great speed, Conklin has enough quickness and footwork to cut off the corner. He can hold up well in the bull rush unless he is going against a powerful defender; they can give him some trouble.
In the ground game, Conklin is at his best when he fires out to hit blocks on the second level. He's very good at that and gets in position well. When it comes to just blasting defenders out of their gap, Conklin is not powerful. He got movement against the weak college opponents, but against quality opponents, he didn't achieve much of a push.
For the NFL, team sources have said that a team could get away with Conklin at left tackle for a time, but ultimately they would want someone quicker and more athletic to block speed rushers. Multiple team sources say they think Conklin would be best as a right tackle or guard. At one of those spots, he could be part of a quality offensive line. Conklin could fit any offensive line scheme, but he would mesh best in a zone-blocking scheme to use his movement skills rather than relying on getting movement through strength.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Conklin looks like a mid- to late first-round pick.
Player Comparison: Riley Reiff. Reiff (6-6, 319) is bigger than Conklin, but they are similar players. Both are solid blockers who are not overly strong or athletic. Like Reiff, Conklin could struggle with speed rushers. Reiff was a late first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Conklin could go in the same range.
NFL Matches: Miami, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Kansas City and Carolina
In the middle of the first round, there are a lot of options for Conklin. The Dolphins could use guard help, and Conklin could be a good fit. He also would give them some protection if Brandon Albert gets injured again.
The Raiders re-signed aging veteran Donald Penn to a 2-year contract, but they could use a long-term left tackle to protect Derek Carr.
Detroit could use a left tackle upgrade and then move Riley Reiff to the right side, but Conklin would be a duplicate of Reiff, so he may not be a real upgrade for the Lions.
Atlanta could use an improved offensive line to protect Matt Ryan, and Conklin would give the team a bookend to pair with Jake Matthews. Obviously, the Colts have to get better at protecting Andrew Luck. Conklin could be in play for them to provide a bookend with Anthony Castanzo.
The Jets scouted offensive tackles hard before the last draft. Conklin could be in play as a competitor at guard or right tackle in the short-term and eventually replace the aging D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
The Steelers lost left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency, so Conklin could get consideration for Pittsburgh.
Seattle lost Russell Okung to free agency, and the right side of the team's offensive line needs help. Conklin could fill a spot for the Seahawks.
Kansas City signed Mitchell Schwartz, but lost guard Jeff Allen in free agency. The Chiefs could play Conklin at guard, and if Eric Fisher continues to disappoint, Conklin would give them an option for competition at left tackle.
The Panthers' offensive line lost them the Super Bowl. Michael Oher wasn't signed long term, and the franchise needs a better right tackle to protect Cam Newton.