Chris Conley…what a show he put on. Not great numbers in the agility drills, but with his 6-2 213 frame, 4.3 speed, 45 inch vert, and 11’6" broad jump, it makes you forget those agility drills a bit. It sounds like a great deal to get in the later rounds. He’s an athletic specimen. Zach Whitman put up his SPARQ, looks like Conley’s almost the same caliber athlete as Christine Michael, who the Seahawks really wanted in 2013. It seems like the perfect pick, but there is a problem, there’s not really much tape on him.
Draft Breakdown (I really can’t recommend these guys enough. If you want to take a look at a prospect, ditch the highlight reels and take a look at some of their cutups. They do a great, great job showing all of the important plays during the course of a game, good and bad alike.) was probably in a rush to put some of his tape out, seeing that as of right after his workout they had exactly zero games of his on tape, so I’m not sure if this game was cut in a hurry, or that he just wasn’t that big a factor…but it’s only 2:15. Even DGB had longer tape, and he was a sophomore. May as well take a look at it though.
Right off the bat you get a nice play down the field. It’s a blown coverage, the safety’s supposed to help the corner deep, but the corner underestimates Conley’s speed, so he gets caught flatfooted while the safety bites on the play action and gets caught playing the run. Conley makes a solid, uncontested catch, but he uses his hands, doesn’t let it into his body, then runs after the catch till the safety uses the angle he’s got to catch him. I don’t care if you have 4.35 speed, you’re not outrunning that.
Pretty nice play. I like the fact that Conley feels the hole in the zone to his left, then makes a break for it. He shows a nice feel for where the space is, and since the corner isn’t looking at him at this point, he can get wide open while the QB climes the pocket and finds him in the open space, on time, and in stride. It’s a little bit behind Conley, who does make a really nice catch away from his body and keeps running. I can’t help but notice that the lack of quickness that he showed at the combine does show up here. He doesn’t make any kind of attempt to really evade the linebacker coming his way. I don’t know that I really mind that much, but it’s something to notice.
The first broken tackle we see from Conley, and it’s not a bad play. Apparently the attitude of the running backs on his team is contagious. He just lowers his head and shows some relatively impressive power. Pushes the guy back a couple yards. This is really the first real after-the-catch effort that we’ve seen from Conley. So far he kind of looks like Sidney Rice; kind of a catch-and-fall receiver. That’s not a bad thing, Sidney Rice was really nice to have while he was here, and he didn’t have this kind of upside. Another thing to take note of is all.
This shows another of Conley’s weaknesses. He rounds his routes. That out-and-up route looks a lot more like an S than the Z it’s supposed to. Maybe that’s because of his lack of quickness. What he does show on this play is an ability to track the ball over his shoulder and catch it. That’s a nice job of doing that during this play.
Wanna know something cool about Chris Conley? He’s been pretty dang productive since arriving at Georgia. His freshman year he caught 18 passes for 288 yards and 2 TDs, and since then he’s never had a season with less than 300 yards and 4 TDs. In fact, he’s been the most productive receiver on the team for the last two years; more than a guy named Michael Bennett, who’s gotten a little bit more press than him till now (in that I’d heard of Michael Bennett the receiver before I’d heard of Chris Conley). That’s going to change.
Thanks to Zack Whitman for his SPARQ work, check him out on Three Sigma Athlete.