If you look up the phrase “took the NFL Combine by storm”, there would be a picture of former Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley. He exploded off the charts with a forty yard dash of 4.35, a vertical of 45 inches, and a standing broad jump of 11’ 7”. Although the wide out played for a heavily run-based offense, there is a great deal of upside related to him. I reviewed the two available games on www.draftbreakdown.com against Arkansas and Tennessee to get a better feel of what he can do on the football field versus what he can do in a track meet.
WR Chris Conley, Georgia 6’ 2” 213 lbs.
Cons: Sometimes coming from a school that features a running game almost exclusively can benefit a player like Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech, but it also comes with a very limited route tree. Because Conley ran mostly nine routes and slants, it is difficult to tell if he can excel running patterns that he never ran in college. Right now the receiver looks like a better athlete than a football player due to his general rawness. Solid position coaching could make a big difference, but it might take time or never sink in. That is a huge risk. Against physical, press coverage, Conley struggles to get separation. Even if he lines up exclusively in the slot, the receiver needs to show improvement with upper body strength. It is a bit concerning that he isn’t that great of a blocker despite playing in a run-first offense.
Pros: He lined up on the outside and in the slot, but was left mostly uncovered in the games I viewed. The smooth receiver has tremendous burst and can start/stop quickly while using spin moves to get away from would-be tacklers. This was evident in a few bubble screens I saw him targeted on. Conley attacks the ball in the air at its highest point and can makes receptions in stride, accelerating thru the catch. Occasionally the playmaker let the ball too much into his body, but usually shows soft hands. He sells double moves well down the field and hand fights with his coverage to gain an advantage when positioning for jump balls. There is no hesitation running routes in the middle of the field. The wide out uses the sidelines well getting both feet down and can shield the defender well by making bucket catches, especially near the end zone. Conley adjusts himself in the air and can contort to poorly thrown balls showing good concentration.
Overall thoughts: While he is more of an athlete than a receiver, there is plenty of talent to his game. Conley should not be expected to be an impact player for your dynasty team in the first year, but might be a diamond in the rough that you could get in the third or fourth round of your rookie drafts.
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