In the days after the 2015 NFL Draft, reports began circulating as to why the Kansas City Chiefs moved up in the third round to select Georgia Wide Receiver, Chris Conley. As we all know, General Manager, John Dorsey, does not like to deal draft picks. However, the team was tipped off the Cleveland Browns were poised to take the young receiver had Kansas City not jumped in front of them in the third round.
Conley comes to the Chiefs with an opportunity to become a starter in his first year of NFL duty. He has the brains, not to mention his brilliant Star Wars Adaptation (Dawn of the Dog) that’s been a You Tube sensation; Conley has every attribute on the field to become a force in KC’s offense in 2015.
Head Coach, Andy Reid, loves his receivers agile, fast and disciplined. Conley has as much potential to start opposite free agent signee, Jeremy Maclin, as any other current roster member at the receiver position.
In talking to a scout that watched him play at Georgia, he told me that had it not been for Bulldogs Running Back, Todd Gurley, his numbers would have been much higher. Despite playing second fiddle to Gurley last season, Conley did snag eight touchdowns and averaged 18.3 yards per catch.
We detailed the impact that second year receiver, Albert Wilson, could make on this team in 2015 earlier this week. To me, he’s a slot receiver but Reid sees it otherwise. There is no question Conley is an outside guy, and the competition between he and Wilson, should be fun to watch in training camp.
Heading into the draft most fans felt the Chiefs were still light at the receiver position. KC’s brass felt that way as well and with the addition of Conley, the team has suddenly upgraded a position that was an absolute disaster a year ago.
With Maclin, veteran Jason Avant, Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas, and now Conley, the opportunities are enormous for Quarterback, Alex Smith and his ability to chuck the ball down the field with confidence.
The key though will be how quickly Conley can assimilate the offense. He’s certainly bright enough to do it, and more than any other draft pick Kansas City added this go round, he’s the most vital to the teams fortunes in 2015.
Sure I could make a case for first and second round picks, Cornerback Marcus Peters and Center Mitch Morse, but to me Conley can be the difference maker that opens up KC’s offense that could become elite in 2015.
However, if the Chiefs don’t establish a legitimate #2 receiver opposite Maclin, defenses can still double up on Maclin and Kelce to some degree. Sure that still leaves Charles for opposing defensive to contend with in Reid’s complex offense but this offense needs more options.
To be a success in the passing game, you are dependent on having a plethora of receiving options that can challenge one-on-on matchups inside and outside. Where Kansas City struggled a year ago was the fact their receivers could not get off the line of scrimmage. Further, when they found themselves challenging for balls in the air, they generally didn’t get the job done.
A player like Conley can change that perception. He plays the position with no fear and already possesses the ability to run precise routes. Further, when he gets his hands on the ball, the man knows how to fight for every extra yard available on the field.
He doesn’t drop passes, and for a precise passer like Smith, he always has his hands ready to catch the ball. That’s something that could be infectious on the rest of his teammates.
All in all it’s a lot to ask of me to expect Conley to rise above the shadows and play beyond his rookie wage scale in 2015. Still, when you look at the player overall, one can assume that he was a steal in round three. Time will tell if my prognostication delivers merit this season on the rookie Georgia receiver.
Draft picks are certainly unpredictable whenever they’re selected but in the case of Conley, something tells me he could rise above the ruins of many draft picks that will ultimately struggle in 2015.