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Jack Conklin projected to go high in 2016 NFL Draft

Conklin is projected as a top-10 pick and should hear hs named called early tonight.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL Draft will begin soon, and the Michigan State Spartans figure to be represented in Round 1 tonight.

The highest spartan expected to be drafted is stalwart tackle Jack Conklin. After a career of locking down just about every defender he ever went against, Conk is now projected as a top-10 pick and should hear his named called fairly early tonight.

Last week on NFL Live, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper just mentioned Jack Conklin being a good target for the Browns at No. 8. Kiper went as far as to say 'Conklin, you could make an argument as the best player in the draft.'

That's how highly that Conklin is thought of by at least a few people heading into this draft. The key is if that sentiment is shared by key decision-makers for teams.

Speaking of, McShay just put out his final mock for year's draft, and he has Conklin squeaking inside the top 10 with the G-Men.

10. New York Giants

Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

The Giants do not have a long-term right tackle on the roster. Conklin would solve that problem. A former walk-on, Conklin is a powerful run-blocker who plays with the physical edge needed for a right tackle. Plug-and-play starter.

While Kiper hasn't put out a final mock yet, he did release his final rankings for the top 300 prospects in this draft, and he has Conklin all the way at fourth overall.

4. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

A throwback player, Conklin is a great technician with a physical edge you rarely find in today's game. There are reasonable questions about whether he ends up as a left tackle or a right tackle, but he's a top-10 talent in this class wherever he ends up.

While I respect Kiper's and McShay's opinion, I hold the opinions of ESPN analyst Louis Riddick's in higher regard. Unlike many analysts and so-called draft gurus, Riddick had long careers as an NFL player, scout and director of pro personnel. His experience making these kinds of draft decisions is far more eye-opening, so when he says someone like Conk is a high-round prospect, I'm listening.

The good news is Riddick also thinks highly of Conklin, enough so that he had the Spartans tackle going seventh overall in his only mock draft.

7. San Francisco 49ers

Mel Kiper's pick: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

I've been a fan of Conklin's for a long time, and with a glaring need at right tackle I'm getting a really good one here. Sorry -- it's way too high to take a quarterback with the top two gone

The final mock draft by SB Nation's own Dan Kadar has Conklin landing in the Music City as the Titans spend the 15th pick on him.

15. Tennessee Titans

Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Whether they get him at No. 15 or they move up, I think the Titans would be smart to come out of the draft with Conklin. He's a tough and gritty blocker who can knock defenders around at the point of attack.

Wherever Conklin lands, he has all the physical tools, work ethic and drive to have a long and productive NFL career.