Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Commitment to Excellence.
Just Win, Baby!
The Autumn Wind is a raider...
These were phrases of legend. The Raiders of old carried an aura. They lived by an ethos. They were led by a maverick owner who produced winner after winner despite defying the standard of the league, well at least before he went bat-sh!t crazy.
How mightily this team has fallen. What was once "the team of decades" has crumbled like a great, ancient civilization into a modern 3rd-world shantytown.
The L.A. Las Vegas Oakland Raiders have become a vagabond team grouped with the rest of the league's laughingstocks like the Browns, Redskins, and Dolphins (all shadows of their former greatness).
And yet despite their lowly standing, I'd trade our entire roster with theirs in a heartbeat.
Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Latavius Murray headline a young, explosive offense trending upwards. Michael Crabtree has found resurgence and didn't even need to leave town.
The defense, while not quite top 10, has established veterans mixed with young talent all anchored around Khalil Mack who is emerging as one of the top defenders of the league.
The Raiders are a team on the rise. Lots of optimism surrounds the fan base. They have a chance to challenge the AFC West with the Broncos lacking a quarterback (although the same may have been true last year), Andy Reid hitting his all-too-familiar ceiling, and the Chargers sulking in the cellar.
As the Raiders looks towards the draft with no glaring holes needing to be filled and brimming with the confidence of a young team just hitting its stride, the Raiders can look towards tomorrow and select the best player available. In this case, that player is the spit and image of former Congressman Jon Runyan.
With the 14th pick in the 1st round, the Oakland Raiders select OT Jack Conklin from Michigan State.
One scouting report concisely describes Conklin as "That is a dude, right there. He was busting up Ohio State in the fourth quarter of that game not because he was more talented than those guys but because he just wanted it more. He's tougher than old beef jerky."
ESPN's bottom line report states that Conklin "possesses top flight size and strength at the tackle position and has the technique and recovery athleticism to make up for his average foot quickness. Conklin went from solid in 2014 to very good in 2015 and teams must now decide whether or not they want to give him a chance at left tackle or plug him in on the right side where he should be able to step in right away and become a quality starter. Conklin has some physical limitations, but he's got solid technique and exactly the field demeanor that offensive line coaches will be looking for."
Conklin is the guy I wanted for the Eagles when we were picking at 13. I'm biased by all the greatness that is Jon Runyan, and given a choice between Jack Conklin and Ronnie Stanley, I choose Conklin (but I really hope the Eagles don't go OL in the 1st round).
Conklin fits nicely into the situation the Raiders have on their offensive line. Per Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride: "The Raiders offensive line has been celebrated this offseason by the likes of Pro Football Focus and some others, but the tackle positions could both prove to be an issue. Donald Penn at 32 years old was allowed to test the market and was ultimately re-signed to a friendly short-term deal to man the left tackle spot until the Raiders can bring in reinforcements. Both right tackles are coming off injury, including Menelik Watson who has several times been pegged as the starter, but who can't stay healthy long enough to give the Raiders any idea if he can be the long-term solution at right tackle."
If Conklin excels, he can be a starter at guard or tackle by the time the time the autumn wind starts blowing. If not, the Raiders can groom him along slowly and set his succession plan in motion in one or two years.
The Raiders are getting their swagger back. Jack Conklin is another crucial piece, and he'll live up to Steve Sabol's epic poem as the Raider who is:
Pillaging just for fun.
He'll knock you 'round and upside down,
And laugh when he's conquered and won.
2016 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Titans (ablesser88) - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss - [Explanation]
2) Browns ( Genius) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - [Explanation]
3) Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Jared Goff, QB, Cal - [Explanation]
4) Cowboys (kamjam) - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
5) Jaguars (drc242) - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State - [Explanation]
6) Ravens (rohan915) - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
7) 49ers (LAOJoe) - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
8) Eagles (slickpablovick) - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame - [Explanation]
9) Buccaneers (OneBucFan47) - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky - [Explanation]
10) Giants (Paulie97) - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida - [Explanation]
11) Bears (Kiko's Delivery Service) - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State - [Explanation]
12) Saints (kylebruneault) - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson - [Explanation]
13) Dolphins (wildcatlh) - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State - [Explanation]
14) Raiders (Luxury_Used_Vehicles_By_Braman) - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State - [Explanation]
15) Rams (NowWhat?) -
16) Lions (bri g) -
17) Falcons (thealien2696) -
18) Colts (ei78) -
19) Bills (naderg43) -
20) Jets (Quacking_Eagle) -
21) Washington (TheCoxishere) -
22) Texans (jeppsforst) -
23) Vikings (WScott151) -
24) Bengals (burkhart_b) -
25) Steelers (theaction) -
26) Seahawks (tfrank9811) -
27) Packers (3Trace) -
28) Chiefs (jawmo) -
N/A) Patriots - Cheaters
29) Cardinals (big DUB) -
30) Panthers (zatch2k) -
31) Broncos (JALupowitz) -