For those with a limited grasp of football, Gareon Conley did not justify his 2017 first-round selection. As a result, this is why many voices do not equate to smart ones. If you look at certain factors heading into 2018, you will see Conley is the type of playmaker the Raiders need.
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Despite playing in only two games, Conley flashed traits of a number one corner. First, despite whatever lingering shin issue, Conley shows a break on the ball that many Oakland DBs lacked. Try picturing Amerson, Smith or any of the former starters reacting to short pattern. Next, Conley’s fluidity and long speed will serve the Raiders well.
With all due respect to John Pagano constructing a mediocre defense out of a lack of talent, the 2017Raiders secondary failed. Whether you want to blame Rod Woodson or not, the unit failed miserably. On a side note, Woodson’s post-Raiders interview circuit seems to confirm where some blame should reside.
Anyway, a regime change and overhaul brings in a new position coach. Derrick Ansley’s tenure in college will greatly assist Ansley.
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- Ansley brings connection with younger corners. Woodson, far removed from the college scene probably could not connect. Ansley stepped off the Alabama campus, national title in hand, surrounded by elite college talent.
- Ansley breaks down specific movement and instills a fanatical approach to technique. While one misstep may not cost a corner in a backpedal, several could. Talent without technique is what destroys defenses and leads to big plays.
Before the 2017 Draft, Conley’s year took a brutal turn. A woman accused him of rape. Although no charges were filed, those allegations weigh heavily on anyone. Now, with that nightmare behind him, Conley faces a different challenge. Facing Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill, and Demariyus Thomas a combined six times during the season. Each provides a different obstacle for Conley. While Hill features blinding burst, Thomas uses physicality to win. Meanwhile, Allen resides in the middle and possesses body control and the ability to win jump balls.
In retrospect, 2017 could be a great teaching tool for Gareon Conley. Through injury, controversy, and coaching issues, Conley survived. Now, getting to the field, and competing over a full season awaits. Scouts and analysts saw him as an elite talent for a reason. The Raiders and their fans will see it too. In that case, he’s worth the wait.