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Thinking About Gareon Conley & the Browns

As we prepare for the NFL Draft, I'm thinking about Gareon Conley and the Browns...

If you haven't read up on the Gareon Conley story, do a quick Google search and get all the information you need there.

While I am thinking about Conley's situation, I'm not here to talk about the details of the case or get in any discussion about the legal system, pressing charges, etc. That can be done elsewhere.

For me, and most others: If he did what he is accused of doing, he has bigger things to worry about.

If he did what he is accused of doing, he has bigger things to worry about.

If he didn't, this is rough for the young man and will have a big impact on his immediate future but he can overcome it.

His situation is similar to, but not the same as, La'el Collins. Collins' name got wrapped up in a murder investigation and he went from being a 1st Round pick to undrafted. Some of that was a smart bluff by his agents, saying he wouldn't play for a team if drafted after a certain round, but most was due to risk.

Conley's situation is similar. Any team taking him has to measure the risk, as Pro Football Talk noted:

But with plenty of evidence available and with teams having the resources to find out even more, it’s possible that someone will take a calculated risk on Conley, if the team develops a sense that he’s innocent, and/or that the alleged victim doesn’t intend to press the issue.

It is important to note that I've been told Conley could have been the first Buckeye taken this year, ahead of his secondary mates Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore. NFL.com gave this summary on him:

BOTTOM LINE

 Press-corner with experience at both cornerback spots and an ability to fit into a variety of coverage techniques. He plays with good top-end speed and has the ball skills to challenge and defend passes on any level. He can step in right away in zone coverage, but could struggle to match patterns from a pedal. He will likely be targeted by teams seeking long cornerbacks who can crowd and trail receivers down the field. He has the talent to become an early starter, but he must improve in run support.

So he is a talented player that "could fall" according to MMQB:

We’ll see what Thursday night brings. But this will be the story of the first round, and maybe the first several rounds. Will any team risk the public wrath and draft currency on a player who may be involved in a sexual assault investigation after the draft?

Key words: "Several Rounds," "Wrath" and "Draft Currency."

MMQB using the idea of a several round drop, and earlier using the same Collins comparison, is telling. This is unlike the Laremy Tunsil issue last year. That was a video of something that happened and was done. Collins and Conley are dealing with ongoing things that won't be finalized by the start of the NFL Draft.

The use of the word wrath and Draft currency tells you all you need to know about how NFL teams view all of this. Wrath is normally saved for important things. Currency is the economics of the whole thing. In the NFL, draft picks are the 2nd highest form of currency, behind a great QB. 

Teams never want to waste their highly important currency especially at the risk of "wrath."

That brings us to the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns seem to be risk averse, covet picks more than most and had the worst record in the league last year.

They also have a need for a significant upgrade in the secondary, have tons of picks and don't have much farther to fall.

Almost fully split, fans either believe a bad team should take chances or never should because only good teams can afford to take those risks. This has been a common theme about troubled/off the field issues as well as injuries. There is value on both sides of that argument.

Here is what can't be argued, of all the teams in the NFL Draft, the Browns are best suited to make a decision on Conley. 

The reported offense took place in Cleveland where the team has a direct connection to the law enforcement. While other teams are figuring out who to call, how they might get the information and who they can trust, the Browns have all of that information in spades.

The Browns will be best prepared to make a decision on Conley as he, likely, falls. They have deep knowledge of all the players involved, how the system in Cleveland works and likely have had that information for a week or more, while other teams are trying to catch up.

The Browns also have quick access to get to Columbus to try to learn even more about his background than they already knew. While other teams would have to decide if they'd fly out, and who'd they send, the Browns can make a day trip down 71 to gather more information this close to the Draft.

This isn't to say that if the Browns don't take the risk on him that they found out any dirt but if they do, it will most likely be because they had access to more people and more information than other teams.

Where a team takes a risk on Conley has now joined the Joe Mixon storyline drama. Mixon's was years ago but was on tape proven while Conley's is nothing more than a report, at the time of this writing, but the timing of it could be even more costly.

I was asked to guess, and that is all this is, about where Conley could fall. Today, from everything I've heard and just trying to piece things together, I think the earliest he goes is the 3rd Round with a higher likelihood that he goes undrafted. Things are known to change, information can still come out, the police could make a report or his agents could try to push things along.

For the Browns, I believe Conley would be an option at the top of the 4th but it will all depend on the information they get. They are best set to get that information.

Where do you think Conley falls and do you think the Browns should take a chance on him?


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