Gareon Conley is one of the quickest “risers” of this draft class. Talk in the past month has gone from the mid-twenties to a potential top ten landing spot. Conley in the main beneficiary to the injury concerns swirling around consensus number one corner Marshon Lattimore. His hamstring issues have been well documented and it may end up keeping him from being the first corner selected on draft night.
His teammate, Gareon Conley may just end up being the first. The 6-0, 195 pound Junior from Ohio State has just about everything that NFL teams covet in cornerbacks. He’s long and can hang with just about anybody down the field. Conley’s ability to defend the deep ball is his best asset to me. He has a great feel for timing his jump and is pretty effective making plays on the ball.
Conley is really good about keeping inside leverage. He stays on receiver’s hips and doesn’t let them separate vertically. This play is the best example of that. He’s in total control and never lets the receiver even have a chance. A well timed jump at the end ensures an incompletion.
Same deal here. Conley wins this rep with his positioning. He’s on top of the route and squeezing the receiver towards the sideline. I wanted to see him finish this one with a pick, but you’ll take a batted down pass every time in this situation.
I have two gripes with Conley. The first is that he’s just not very good in run support. Lattimore is an absolute dog against the run, but Conley doesn’t play with the same demeanor. He’s a little timid and attacks too high, trying to arm tackle. All that can be worked on, but you have to want to be good at it. Some guys just aren’t.
The second issue for me is that he’s got a touch of stiffness about him. He can turn and run downfield with anyone, but when asked to change direction receivers can tie him up a bit horizontally. I don’t think his mirroring skills are anything special and I think he’s going to give up a few plays a game to good route runners. Check out the Michigan game for a few examples.
To me, the ability to mirror guys and stay sticky in coverage is what sets Marshon Lattimore apart from his teammate. However, the NFL loves six foot corners who can run — and Conley checks both of those boxes. I’m not sure I understand the top ten hype, but he’s a solid football player that I put a late first round value on. I think he’s a prime trade back target for the Titans if they end up picking at 10 or 12.