5 Browns O-Linemen who stepped up under Bill Callahan
1. Will All-Pro Conklin Stay or Go?
Jack Conklin was a very good offensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans, but when he came to Cleveland in 2020, he became even better, making the All-Pro team. You can say what you want about the politics of the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, but those vectors are rarely pointed in the favor of Cleveland.
If someone makes the All-Pro team wearing a Cleveland uniform, he probably earned it. Thus, the Browns have three players who have been recently honored in Conklin, Wyatt Teller (second-team All-Pro) and Joel Bitonio (first team in 2021), so you may as well believe that something good is happening on the Browns’ offensive line.
Bitonio was drafted by Ray Farmer, Teller was obtained via trade by John Dorsey and Conklin was obtained via trade by Andrew Berry. The common thread is that all three made All-Pro with Bill Callahan as their offensive line coach.
Conklin was a first-round draft pick of the Titans and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, he suffered a knee injury and his level of play was not the same for the rest of his career in Tennessee. According to an article in Titanswire, Conklin and the Titans training staff decided to reduce his playing weight to add quickness after his knee injury. That may or may not have helped his level of play. With the Browns, he is still listed at 308 pounds. However, he may be stronger now than he was in his days as a Titan.
Will Conklin still be with the team after the NFL trade deadline passes? If the Browns are knocked out of contention by the Bengals, it would seem like a good idea to obtain a draft pick if at all possible. Conklin is not signed for 2023. His departure as a free agent would generate a compensatory draft pick if the Browns lose more free agents than they sign.
The Browns will probably wind up in negative territory, given that they need to adjust to the new reality of paying the starting quarterback $55 million dollars per year. Also, since they gave up six draft picks in two years for Deshaun Watson, they could really use a compensatory pick if one is available.
Conklin’s departure would probably result in a fourth or fifth-round pick in 2024. If they trade him now, they might get a little more. Hence, if the Browns can swing a trade for Conklin that would bring a draft pick or two in return, they will probably do it.
They might hang on to Conklin if they pull off the upset against the Bengals on Monday Night Football. In that case, they might decide they still have a shot at making the playoffs via some miracle. Perhaps Deshaun Watson will be given a shot at running the table. If they have three wins at the deadline, it is not quite impossible. A normal team would be sellers with three wins, but the Browns may not be a normal team.