Gareon Conley is a premier defensive talent in this draft and has very good measurables that have added to an already filled resume. Conley played in 35 games at Ohio State totaling 91 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 15 passes defended. Conley did not get much recognition as other Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore, but he was named Second-Team All-Big Ten this season. Conley was an important piece to the already dominant Ohio State secondary as he was able to cover the slot and the outside.
Conley measured in at 6’0″ on the dot and weighed in at 195 pounds. He also ran a much better than expected 40-time at 4.44. Conley has been one of the most rising prospects on most analyst’s mock drafts. His length and quickness are the two traits that most scouts fell in love while playing at Ohio State. Conley’s rising status could put him in the running for a team like Philadelphia with a dire need at CB.
Pros: Conley uses his hands in press coverage better than any other CB in this draft as he was asked to jam receivers at the line a ton in college. Conley also played very well in the playoff game against Clemson totaling a season-high 6 tackles and also a 1st quarter interception against Deshaun Watson. Conley displays a great burst to the football after it leaves a QB’s hands and also is very good at diagnosing pass patterns. Conley loves to come up and hit players in the run game similar to Marlon Humphrey.
Cons: I felt after watching Conley that he might struggle with some of the double moves in the pros because he tends to gamble on going for the shorter pass rather than the deep ball. Conley also had a tendency to hold receivers down the field which is a point of emphasis for referees in the NFL. Another knock on Conley was how the talented secondary (Hooker and Lattimore) may have helped Conley get away with being beat on some plays.
NFL.com compared Conley to an Aqib Talib type corner who loves to get physical in man coverage but can also run zone and protect the sticks. If Conley’s ceiling is as high as Aqib Talib’s (minus the off the field issues Talib had), then the Eagles should absolutely take a shot on him. Conley is gonna need some more time to develop than a Lattimore or a Humphrey but if he develops, he may be the best CB to come out of this draft class.
If the Eagles decide to take Conley in round 1 they would then be able to focus on the positions of RB and WR in future rounds instead of taking a guy like McCaffrey in round 1 and praying that a good CB slides in rounds 2-3. Conley would be a great fit in the press scheme that Schwartz and Undlin want to develop and would be a solid pick at 14 for the birds.