Todd McShay: Two B1G linemen have highest floors of anyone in draft
When Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker are selected in this month’s draft, it’s a forgone conclusion that they won’t be the top players or even the top offensive linemen selected.
Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil is a possible No. 1 overall pick and Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley could easily go in the top 10. And while they might have the upside that front offices covet in a top pick, there is some risk there. Tunsil had multiple off-the-field problems at Ole Miss and Stanley’s work ethic is in question.
So with that in mind, ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay was asked, ‘Who is your biggest sure thing in this draft?’
“Jack Conklin and Taylor Decker are the two guys — I don’t know if they’re ever going to be great — but I would be absolutely shocked if those two guys didn’t turn out to be really good starting tackles in the league,” McShay said on the First Draft Podcast.
To clarify, McShay wasn’t limiting that distinction to offensive linemen. He said Conklin and Decker were the safest bets of anybody in the draft because of their abilities to successfully play right tackle —and potentially left tackle — right away.
Mel Kiper Jr. was asked the same question. Surprisingly, Kiper went with a different B1G player.
“That’s why you like (Conklin and Decker) because they have good versatility,” Kiper said to McShay. “My point with (Ezekiel) Elliott is the guy can run, he can catch and he can block. He’s not gonna be a bust.”
It’s actually Kiper who preaches the “don’t draft a running back in the first round” philosophy. Still, he had Elliott jump all the way from No. 20 to No. 6 overall in his latest mock draft.
McShay, as you’ll recall, has been singing Elliott’s praises throughout the draft process. He believes the former Buckeye could be selected in the top four picks and become a three-down, Pro Bowl back.
Still, he sees even less bust potential in the B1G’s All-American offensive tackles.
“I’m not going against you,” McShay said to Kiper Jr. “(Conklin and Decker) just feel really safe to me.”