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Raiders 2016 Draft Pick or Pass: OT's Jack Conklin, Taylor Decker

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Already rated as one of the best offensive lines in the NFL (if not the best), is it possible that Oakland will use the No. 14 pick on an offensive lineman to secure that honor well into the future?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the off-season, offensive line was a major question mark for the Raiders — with Donald Penn set to be a free agent at left tackle and no clear answers as to who would play guard opposite Gabe Jackson.

Now, with a couple of months worth of perspective, offensive line is easily the strongest position group on the team thanks to the re-signing of Penn and the addition of the best offensive lineman on the market (Kelechi Osemele). As it stands, the only "question mark" on the line is at right tackle, but even that position should have some depth as Austin Howard and Menelik Watson battle it out for the starting spot.

So with all this in mind, would Oakland really consider Jack Conklin (Michigan State) or Taylor Decker (Ohio State) with the No. 14 pick?

Jeff Spiegel

Reggie McKenzie loves nothing more than beefing up the offensive line, but there's no way I see him drafting an offensive lineman in the first round this year.

As it stands, Osemele is signed through 2021, Rodney Hudson is signed through 2020, Austin Howard through 2019, Donald Penn through 2018 and Gabe Jackson through 2018. Only Menelik Watson is gone in 2017 — but even he is the guy that the Raiders believe will be starting at right tackle in Week 1.

For me, I just can't see the Raiders drafting a guy that would mean cutting or benching 1-2 of the players mentioned above. If I had to choose, I'd take Conklin because it sounds like he has a better chance of being able to play left tackle in the pros.

Verdict: Conklin: PASS; Decker: PASS


Let's start with Conklin... The strength of Michigan State's team was their lines, and Conklin was a big part of that. He's a solid but unspectacular tackle prospect who projects as a solid right tackle in the NFL, but lacks the lateral quickness and strength to be a franchise left tackle. The Raiders already have Menelik Watson and Austin Howard on their team so where would Conklin fit? He could certainly be a rotational tackle and could fill in if needed, and he does fit the Raiders' power scheme so I do think he'd be a good player for the Raiders, but I just don't see them spending the fourteenth pick overall on a guy they may or may not need. Also, there are so many teams above Oakland with tackle needs that Conklin may not last this long.

As for Decker, I Remember watching highlights of Khalil Mack eating the Ohio State offensive tackle for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the Buffalo / Ohio State game. That tackle he was bending over a barrel on every play was Taylor Decker. I want Derek Carr to actually survive practice, so I'm not inclined to take Decker at any point. I feel his skill set is more suited to a spread zone like he played in college and I don't think he fits what the Raiders want to do. Some team is going to get a good right tackle in Decker, but woe is them if he has to face Khalil Mack again.

Verdict: Conklin: PASS; Decker: PASS

Tyler Green

As a football player, I love Jack Conklin as he is tough as nails and plays with a physical demeanor. My biggest problem with the Raiders taking Jack Conklin at No. 14 overall is I project him as an offensive guard in the NFL, due to his slow foot quickness. He reminds me a little of Robert Gallery as both players were physical maulers. Gallery struggled at left tackle because he wasn't quick enough, but he excelled as an offensive guard where he could be a bully. Conklin would be a great value in the second round, but taking him at 14 is too rich for the position value combined with the Raiders already having two quality starting offensive guards in Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson.

At 6'7", 308 lbs, Taylor Decker has prototypical size for a left tackle. Like Conklin, Decker is a brute that is overpowering as a run blocker. He has quick feet for his size and doesn't get beat often around the edge which could make him a successful left tackle in the NFL. Donald Penn is approaching 33-years old and neither Austin Howard or Menelik Watson have shown the ability to stay on the field consistently. The Raiders could use another tackle for depth and to eventually succeed Penn as their starting left tackle. I think Decker will be a long-time starting tackle in the league for years and would make a great pick for the Raiders at 14 overall.

Verdict: Conklin: PASS, Decker: PICK

Marcus Allen Krause

Jack Conklin is my pick for Offensive Tackle in this draft, at least for the one that has a good chance of still being available when the Raiders pick at 14. Conklin is arguably one of the most talented players of any position still available in the middle of the 1st and Oakland has a need to find a future LT to replace Donald Penn eventually.

I believe Jack Conklin can be that guy despite some reports believing he will be a Right Tackle at the next level. He has great awareness and is awesome at getting to the next level and always looking for somebody to block. He needs to be more aggressive in the NFL but who better than Mike Tice to teach him that as a rookie.

Taylor Decker is a nice offensive line prospect in his own right. I prefer Conklin because I think he has LT potential and is a better pass blocker but Decker is a likely long term starter at Right Tackle. It is run blocking for Decker that is elite and why he is also worthy of a first round pick. I prefer Conklin but would be fine with the Raiders picking either player at 14th overall.

Verdict: Conklin: PICK, Decker: PASS

Levi Damien

First off, I absolutely see offensive tackle as a position the Raiders should be looking at in the first round, and I believe they are considering it. We have all seen the Pro Football Focus graphic that sugests the Raiders Oline grades rival the Cowboys for the best in the league. And as far as the interior line, that is absolutely the case. The tackles may be fine this year and they may not. Regardless, both sides have big decisions coming up very soon with Donald Penn turning 33 and Menelik Watson in the final year of his rookie contract.

With that said, Conklin is widely considered one of the top three offensive tackles in this draft and depending on if there are players at other positions on the board the Raiders like better, he would be a great asset to have. It's possible he could start as a rookie on either side. Penn appeared to be wearing down late last season and Watson has never proven he can remain healthy. Austin Howard filled in admirably last season before being lost to injury late in the season. Conklin would be a great insurance plan now, and a long term answer as well.

As for Decker, some like him better than Conklin, but I am not among them. I don't think he would be a poor selection, I just see a greater likelihood the Raiders would find more value at another position over Decker.

Verdict: Conklin: PICK, Decker: PASS