NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Jack Conklin is the highest-graded right tackle in the NFL at the season's halfway mark, according to the folks at Pro Football Focus.
Through eight games, Conklin hasn't allowed a sack. The Titans love his demeanor, and dependability.
But Conklin, the eighth overall pick of the NFL Draft, hardly feels like he's arrived. On Wednesday, he was asked if feels like a veteran after six months on the job.
"I feel like a rookie,'' Conklin said with a smile, looking in the direction of his fellow offensive linemates. "These guys make sure to remind me of that every day. But it is going well, and we're having fun. We just have to keep creating these holes for DeMarco (Murray) and Derrick (Henry) and the rest of the backs and keep Marcus (Mariota) clean and we're going to do some good things."
Yes, Conklin has done some good things early in his NFL career. He's part of an offensive line that's paved the way for the NFL's third-ranked rushing attack while also allowing just 12 sacks through eight games.
On Sunday in San Diego, the Titans – and Conklin – will face another guy who's done some good things early in his rookie year – Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa.
After missing the first four weeks of the season, Bosa has recorded four sacks and 11 quarterback pressures in the past four games. The team's first-round pick from Ohio State has been a disruptive force in every game he's played in, starting with a two-sack debut on October 9 against the Raiders.
"He looks good, and he's going to be a good test,'' Conklin said of Bosa. "He is a good player, and it looks like he picked right up where he left off in college."
Conklin is familiar with Bosa, and that's something Titans coach Mike Mularkey considers to be a plus.
"The nice thing is they've played against each other,'' Mularkey said. "There hasn't been a lot of reps when you watch film on them in college. It's not a lot of reps, but there's enough. Jack (Conklin) has some experience playing against him. We like what Jack's done for us against some very good pass rushers that we've faced this year."
While at Michigan State, Conklin faced Bosa on three separate occasions. Bosa has lined up all over the defensive front in San Diego, so others, like left tackle Taylor Lewan, will be in charge of slowing him down as well.
"He is getting after it,'' Conklin said of Bosa. "He is a good player, and I am going to have to be on my game the whole time I am up against him. He gets after the quarterback real well, he is a high motor guy so he is going to be a good test. It's going to be fun. He's a good player."
At the season's halfway point, Conklin said he's settling in with the Titans.
On Wednesday, he gave credit to some of the same guys who've helped keep him grounded.
"It has gone well,'' Conklin said of his rookie year. "Luckily I have had some good older guys around me that have helped me out a lot, between Ben (Jones) and Taylor and the rest of the o-line. They brought me to this point and have really helped me play well in the system."