After a lost rookie season, surrounded with criminal allegations and leg injuries, Gareon Conley rebounded in 2018. The Raiders looked smart to invest in a corner with upside. Conley improved after a shaky beginning and gave Oakland a defensive building block. Yet, how would you judge him right now? Is he a top corner? FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo assess Gareon Conley.
Is Gareon Conley a Top-10 corner?
I do not believe Conley is a top 10 corner. Is he even a top 20 guy? He’s only played 17 career games in two seasons. Yes, he got three picks last year, but that was without teams really expecting much from him. Two of his three picks came against rookie quarterbacks and the third one was in a blowout. This is a prove it year for Conley. I would not even guarantee him a starting spot based on the depth the Raiders have in the secondary, until he proves he is ready to be the alpha in the D-Block.
Just misses the Top 10 cut. However, this is not to snide the up and coming shutdown corner. I put his former Ohio State bookend teammate Marshon Lattimore at 10 and Conley is right behind him. While injuries derailed Conley’s rookie season, just look at the work Conley did against all-world wide receiver Antonio Brown when AB was a then-Steeler. Conley has the smooth hips, backpedal and the short-arm jab to jam, stick and cover the best receivers in the league. Conley has the instincts and natural ability to be a shadow corner and he rarely is roasted. He’s well-built for a cover corner at 6-foot, 195 pounds and has the arm length and 4.44 speed. Like Lattimore, Conley shows sound short-area quickness and deep speed. The biggest area of concern for Conley is tackling. If that improves, he moves right into the Top 10 as a complete corner.
While Gareon Conley enters another phase in his learning curve, the Raiders need him to continue to evolve. Without a doubt, Conley holds a key to the effectiveness of the pass defense. The Raiders need their former first-round pick to evolve.