Though he has not played a snap for the Raiders in the preseason or even done much of anything in practice, first-round pick Gareon Conley will be a big part of the defensive turnaround in Oakland this season. The Raiders did use the No. 24 overall pick on this kid out of Ohio State for a reason.
Defensive backs that come out of Ohio State are usually ready to compete at a high level in the NFL. For that reason, it’s no surprise how many of Urban Meyer’s former players end up getting drafted in the first round annually. Conley, Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker and New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore all went in the first round out of Ohio State.
Conley doesn’t have to star right away for the Raiders to have an immediate impact. All he has to do is take away some of the snaps that his Oakland cornerback brethren simply cannot handle. Constant eye violations and miscommunication in the back-end only signify that the bulk of the Raiders’ secondary is in over its skis.
Conley has the ability to come in and start in a nickel or dime package. If he plays well in the early part of the season, he might be able to win either cornerback job on the outside. Either way, his football abilities will allow him to climb up the Raiders depth chart in the secondary sooner rather than later. Let’s get this kid healthy to see what he can do for the Silver and Black.