First, let’s identify the obvious? To summarize, Wide Receiver, Chris Conley, he gives the Chiefs a 22-year old intelligent wide receiver with an upper-echelon athletic measurable. Playing in the rugged SEC, he brings a level of primetime game experience that offers a legitimate chance to score wide receiver touchdowns for this offense.
To remedy the overplayed statistic from the 2014 season of futility in the touchdown department, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Pro Bowl Wide Receiver, Jeremy Maclin in free agency and then added Conley in the third round of the NFL Draft. While obviously the bulk of the attention has been on Maclin, and what he can immediately do for the Chiefs offense, Conley has something to offer the Kansas City Chiefs.
You see, the first thing to note about Conley is he doesn’t carry himself like a rookie athlete. In fact, he doesn’t even speak like Star Wars enthusiast that made one crazy good short film in college. At his young game, he speaks like a true football professional. He’s astute, courteous, engaging and he makes quality eye-contact while speaking with confidence to the media.
In a recent interview during OTA’s, Conley comes to the Chiefs with high expectations. In speaking to the media he makes it clear that he’s in the midst of a job interview. He answers every question with poise and class that you don’t generally see or hear from rookies so early in their playing careers.
From my experience following the Chiefs, Conley is just different. He’s either the best coach speak player of all time, or he just gets it. One person that believes that is his head coach.
"He's getting better every day," Andy Reid said. "Big, strong, fast and smart. Those are good characteristics to have."
Those noticeable characters include a strong work ethic that drives the rookie receiver to improve his game on the field every single day.
Certainly, if you want to argue, it definitely could be coach speak. Then again in February at the NFL Combine, Conley was given the tag ‘workout warrior’ on his draft card resume. But listening to Conley speak, it appears to this listening, he understands the NFL and he’s legitimately handling himself as a professional offering the Chiefs his best foot forward on every practice snap.
Having a handle on the emotional grip of the game, the fact Conley has the measurable on the field to be an exciting addition to the offense, should have any fan excited. After all, he has 4.35 speed, a vertical jump of 45” and hands that secure the football. Yet the intangible, and the fact he’s already played with the first team offense, tells you he has a firm grasp on what the Chiefs coaches are preaching. Further, the training ground provided from the University of Georgia, might underscore how ready he is for the NFL game.
In coming to the Chiefs Kingdom, Conley follows a legacy of former Georgia players that have found spots on KC’s roster. One of them, his former college Quarterback, Aaron Murray, certainly can’t hurt the fact both are familiar with one another and that was the plan of General Manager, John Dorsey, when he chose the quarterback and wide receiver in back-to-back NFL drafts.
To this point in their respective careers its impossible to muster the thought that Murray and Conley will become Aikman and Irvin, but the fact they have the ability to work together at this stage of their careers, can’t hurt. However, Murray is a back-up for now but Conley has a chance to start this season for the Chiefs.
Yet before we get ahead of ourselves, we’ve not even see the kid line up in pads. Though he appears to have something special to give to the Chiefs, it’s way too early to tell what kind of player he can become this season for Kansas City.
However, at this stage of the off-season one can dream. If Conley continues to show his fearless playing style, and precision route running, it’s a relatively easy stretch that he could become a dynamic target for Quarterback, Alex Smith.
In the last decade, we’ve seen other teams strike gold with wide receivers in round three. In Kansas City, that hasn’t happened. So what if Conley plays beyond his 3rd round draft slot his rookie year?
Could he be the missing Super Bowl piece on offense? Perhaps but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves at this point of his rookie season. After all, even the Star Wars saga has many chapters. But the prelude we’ve seen from Conley thus far, should have all of us pretty excited to keep watching what he can do on the field.