The Oakland Raiders took a shot on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
They’re certainly hoping to reap the rewards from Conley, who’s expected to be versatile in the Raiders defensive scheme.
“I think the coaches have a big plan for Gareon,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said during an exclusive call with Season Ticket Members earlier in the week, per the team site. “Now, at this point, he’s going to backup until he can show himself in training camp, so he’ll backup the outside corner, and the nickel corner positions, so he’s going to learn multiple cornerback positions. I’m sure he’ll be ready to roll come fall, and we’ll see where it goes once the competition starts.”
A woman just days prior to the draft claimed that Conley had raped her in a Cleveland hotel room in early April. The defensive back passed his polygraph, and he didn’t make it past the first round with Oakland rolling the dice.
Conley earned playing time as early as his freshman season in 2014, where he recorded 16 tackles. As a sophomore, he totaled 49 tackles and picked off two passes. His breakout came in 2016 when he earned Second Team All-Big Ten. He, Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker formed one of, if not the best defensive backfield in the entire country last season.
The secondary was an area to address in the draft for the Raiders, who followed up the Conley pick by grabbing UConn safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round.