The Chicago Bears signed Bobby Massie in free agency to be the club's starting right tackle. That move will allow Kyle Long to slide back inside to right guard, which his best position.
Yet there are still concerns at the left tackle position. Charles Leno was serviceable on the left edge last year but the jury is still out on the former 7th rounder. Many believe he is not the long-term answer to protect Jay Cutler's blindside.
With that in mind, I broke down film of Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin, who may very well be the Bears' first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Jack Conklin, Michigan State (6-6, 308) Redshirt Junior, Age: 21
Conklin is the son of a high school football coach. He walked on his freshman season at MSU and earned a scholarship halfway through that redshirt year. He then started for the Spartans the next three seasons, with all but three games at left tackle. He was named second-team All-Big 10 his sophomore year and first-team All-Big 10 last season. He was also named a near unanimous All-American in 2015.
40-yard dash: 5.00
Bench press: 25 reps
Broad jump: 8-7
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Short shuttle: 4.57
3-cone drill: 7.63
His arms measured at an ideal 35 inches.
-Outstanding balance. Uses solid base with spread legs and sunk hips. Rarely gets pushed backward.
-Effortless power when he keeps his pad level low.
-His balance allows him to easily mirror defenders in pass protection. Cuts off counter moves with ease.
-Great technique. Takes proper angles of attack. Understands how to position himself between the defenders and the quarterback/running back.
-Fluid hips. Can quickly shift and turn on defenders.
-Consistently finds defenders at the second level. Great awareness.
-Decent kick step. Rarely beat around the edge.
-Consistent hand placement.
-Has the agility to work off a double team and into the next defender.
-Handled both Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner, two pass rushers expected to be drafted in the Top 10 this year.
-Sometimes misses blitzes and can be confused by multiple rushers in his area.
-Loses leverage battle on occasion.
-Not great on the move. Tends to lumber a bit.
-Lacks ideal lateral agility, although it's not horrible.
-Doesn't finish plays with nastiness. Doesn't have a mauler demeanor.
-Feet are a little heavy.
-Doesn't consistently coil hips and drive through defenders in the run game.
Is Conklin worth the 11th overall pick?
Conklin is one of the most NFL-ready players in this draft. He's technically sound, with excellent hand usage, footwork and balance. His hands are almost always just under the shoulders of defenders, while his strong base serves as rock-solid anchor against bull rushes.
Conklin will bait edge rushers into trying to turn the corner, then will get on his horse and drive them well past the pocket. When pass rushers try to counter, he easily steps inside and cuts off the angle of pursuit.
Fundamentally, he's off the charts. It's clear he's a coach's son, as he uses outstanding body positioning to turn and seal defenders.
He's not an overpowering blocker but his sound technique allows him to drive defensive linemen at will. When he keeps his pads low, he's a semi truck steamrolling defenders.
At the second level, Conklin is very impressive. He has good awareness and understands how to cut off linebackers by using proper angles.
Conklin is very athletic but he sometimes struggles on the move. Pitch plays where he's asked to sprint out in front are not his strong suit. He also doesn't play with much nastiness.
Conklin was a leader for the Spartans and has the on-field demeanor to help motivate teammates. He leads by example.
The biggest issue for Conklin, in terms of how he fits with the Bears, is whether or not he can play left tackle right away. He could be a Day 1 starter on the right edge but his sub-par lateral agility could be problematic against the NFL's speedy blindside rushers.
If the Bears feel Conklin can protect the blindside, then he's the final piece to the offensive line puzzle. If they feel he's just a right tackle, then it's doubtful they'll use the 11th overall pick on him.
However the draft plays out, the team that gets Conklin is going to have an experienced, talented and athletic player who will be a starter for the next decade. Whether or not that team is the Bears depends on how the team views him.null