(Editor's Note: With less than a month until the start of the 2016 NFL Draft on April 28, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the top of the first round to the bottom of the talent pool. Today's featured player is Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin.)
Name: Jack Conklin
Position: Offensive Tackle
College: Michigan State
Honors: Named First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten by various news outlets in 2015.
Key Stat: Conklin began his Michigan State career as a redshirt walk-on in 2012, then earned a scholarship and started 38 of 39 career games at left and right tackle over his three seasons, including the College Football Playoff semifinal this past January at AT&T Stadium. According to his college bio, he's the first offensive tackle for the Spartans to be named First Team All-American since former Cowboy Flozell Adams in 1997.
Where He's Projected: Most mock drafts view Conklin among the top two or three offensive tackles in this year's draft and a likely first-round pick, possibly somewhere in the first 20 picks. Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil is widely viewed as the draft's No. 1 tackle.
How He Helps the Cowboys: After drafting an offensive lineman in the first round in three of the last five years, the Cowboys likely have bigger needs this year with the fourth overall pick. If there's something worth noting, at least, it's that veteran right tackle Doug Free just turned 32 and has battled injuries at times in recent seasons. But he's also coming off one of his better seasons as the line's veteran leader, and the Cowboys drafted Chaz Green in the third round with the hopes he can back up both tackle spots. Wherever he's drafted, Conklin should help a team as a physical and highly competitive blocker.[embeddedad0]
Scout's Take:Plays with physical toughness. Former walk-on that has always had to battle. Has some snap off the ball. Lines up as a left tackle. Tries to muscle more than push. Shows upper and lower body strength. Position blocker. Will hold his man in place. Doesn't always extend his arms. There are snaps where you see rushers get to his body. Leans on his man. Will surprise you how well he gets to the edge but would not call him a fluid moving guy. Able to pass twist stunt. Fights to get to second level. Position blocker. Stays after his man. Works to finish. Strong punch. Able to sit down on bull rush. Has played well against outstanding competition throughout his career. – Bryan Broaddus