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Titans trade up to select OT Jack Conklin at No. 8

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After trading out of the No. 1 overall pick, the Titans on Thursday swung a deal with the Cleveland Browns to move up from No. 15 to No. 8. From there, Tennessee grabbed Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin.

It wasn't a cheap trade for the Titans, but general manager Jon Robinson has padded the position many felt he'd initially use the top overall pick on.

At 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds, Conklin jumped ahead of the nose-diving Laremy Tunsil. "He's better than (Eric) Fisher when Fisher was the first pick (in 2013). He's better than (Luke) Joeckel," one scout told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Making 35 of 38 starts at Michigan State, Conklin is the highest drafted lineman taken from the school since Tony Mandarich in 1989 -- earning a reputation along the way as a nasty blocker.

"The more you watch that guy, he's the entire package," another scout told McGinn. "What he ran (4.99) shocked the heck out of me. He might end up being the best (tackle) because he's so tough. I've got nothing negative about him. Whatever he does, I think he gives you 100 percent."

Upgrading the line -- and better protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota -- was a major priority for the Titans. Look for Conklin to open the offseason at right tackle, leaving Taylor Lewan to remain in place at the bookend slot.

Either way, the Titans -- with Robinson's help -- have wheeled-and-dealed, picked up extra selections and still filled their top need. Not a bad start to Tennessee's draft.

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