Chris Conley: Browns Draft Profile
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns 2015 NFL Draft seems ready to be a very interesting one for the team. With 10 picks, including two in the first round, the Browns are ready to make noise again for the second year in a row.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Last year the Browns draft included a big trade down and the drafting of Johnny Manziel. While the first round hasn’t panned out yet, the rest of the draft seems to be great. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
After free agency we wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns tried to trade their picks to move up, to get another veteran or went with best player available instead of drafting for need. Farmer did this last year when he drafted Joel Bitonio, Terrance West, Christian Kirksey and others instead of drafting a wide receiver. We could see that again.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for the NFL Draft.
6’2”, 213 pounds
2014 – 13 games; 36 receptions for 657 yards and 8 touchdowns.
2015 NFL Draft Range
3rd Round – Chris Conley led the Georgia Bulldogs in receptions and yards in 2013, and in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2014. In 2013, Conley had five catches in five straight games, before spraining his ankle and missing two games. In his senior year, he scored two touchdowns in three different games. The wide receiver earned several honors throughout his college career, including being selected as SEC representative on the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Conley is a big receiver with terrific leg strength and arm length, which allows him to catch balls that could otherwise fly high over him.
According to his draft profile at NFL.com, Conley is a “tall receiver who […] displays a natural feel for the position and has hand strength and body control to make tough, contested catches.. He also “lulls cornerbacks to sleep before hitting a sneaky second gear to gain separation over the top.” Furthermore, Conley is great on receiving deep passes, as he “accelerates through deep balls”.
Furthermore, Conley is a big receiver with terrific leg strength and arm length, which allows him to catch balls that could otherwise fly high over him. An attribute that can become very valuable with quarterbacks that lack accuracy, especially on deep throws.
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One weakness of Conley’s is that he is a pure pass catcher, rather than a runner, meaning that when he catches the ball, he looks to bring it to safety before running, resulting in him not getting huge gains after the catch. Furthermore, Conley needs to improve his route running in various situations, especially against press coverage, where he tends to “be redirected and thrown off course”.
The Browns have a need on wide receiver, despite the signings of Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline, and reportedly met with Conley this week. If they decide to either trade up for Marcus Mariota or decide to go defense with the first two picks, Conley would be an option to address that need in the third round.
Fit with the Browns
- Red zone threat
With his ideal size and strength, Conley is a great option in the red zone. The Browns have been struggling big-time trying to get into the end zone and Conley could be the perfect addition.
- Fast outside route runner
Conley needs to work on his general route running, but is great at separating from his opposition over the top with speed.
- Great at separating himself from the defense
Conley has many different ways to separate himself from the opposition. He runs quick stop-and-gos with good speed and footwork that you may not expect from a player with his frame.
Browns Player Selection Could Impact
With Josh Gordon not catching balls for the Browns next season, the Browns receiving corps needs all the help it can get. With Hawkins, Miles Austin, Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin combining for just eight touchdowns for the regular season, it is blatantly obvious the receiving corps needs an injection of fresh blood.
Conley looks to be a quality outside receiver who can be a contributor in an offense at the next level. He can be a big part of a newly formed offense with one of the new quarterbacks in either Johnny Manziel – who is said to be like a whole new player after leaving rehab – or Josh McCown.
How Selection Could Be Impacted By Free Agency
Even with the additions of Bowe and Hartline in free agency, and Hawkins entering his second season with the club, the Browns can still use help at the wide receiver position — just most likely not in the first round.
High-Medium – The Browns have traditionally been a running team and head coach Mike Pettine wants to keep it that way. With the quarterback situation still … unsettled … having a solidified receiving corps could go a long way in alleviating the Browns offensive woes come the fall. The signings of veterans Bowe and Hartline were a good first step in establishing the receiving corps. The addition of Conley could help with the growth of the receiving game.
What do you think about the Browns targeting Chris Conley in the 2015 NFL Draft?