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Assessing Jack Conklin's NFL future with Titans

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Jack Conklin's NFL future looks bright in terms of playing time, but not as much when it comes to team success.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Conklin is now officially an NFL player.

After a standout career with the Michigan State Spartans, Conklin was drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 8 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Coming into the draft, Conklin was projected to go in the top 10 and as high as No. 4 to the Dallas Cowboys.

As is the case with most teams picking this high, Conklin was bound to land with a team who's endured some tough times and in the midst of a rebuild. That's especially true of the Titans, who originally held the No. 1 overall pick in this draft, but traded said pick to the Los Angeles Rams for a massive haul of picks and moved back to No. 15.

Sitting there, Tennessee had to trade back up in order to secure Conklin's services with the No. 8 pick, and now he's a Titan. Now, Conklin's NFL future looks bright in terms of playing time and having long productive career. It does not, however, look so bright when it comes to team success.

Conklin shouldn't too tough of a time winning a starting job in Tennessee on an offensive line that's not exactly strong or deep at any spot. Former Michigan Wolverines tackle (and noted jerk) Taylor Lewan has done enough that he should remain the team's starting left tackle.

But Byron Bell is a huge liability at right tackle as he's been for most of his NFL career. Conklin shouldn't have much trouble winning a starting job there as a rookie.

As for the long term, it's hard to think that Tennessee traded up to the No. 8 pick for a long-term starting right tackle. That's the kind of move you make for a franchise left tackle to protect the blindside of your franchise quarterback. This also could pave the way for Lewan to move over to right tackle if he's a better fit there.

Whatever happens there, Conklin probably isn't going to enjoy as many wins with the Titans as he did with the Spartans. Since 2004, Tennessee has had just three winning seasons, two playoff berths and haven't won a postseason game since 2003. They've gone 18-46 since the 2010 season and are now on their fourth different head coach over that span.

While they have some nice pieces, Tennessee still has a long way to go before they become the kind of winner that Conklin and his Spartans were for his entire college career.