Scouting Report: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

6’1 196 lbs.

conley

Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Clemson, 2016 vs. Penn State, 2016 vs. Indiana, 2016 vs. Oklahoma, 2016 vs. Wisconsin

 

OVERVIEW

Conley is an above average athlete who excels in coverage but benefits from the strong Ohio State defense that surrounds him. He looks comfortable in all game situations, but is a very spotty tackler and isn’t highly involved in run support.

Ohio State liked to use Conley as a blitzer out of various spots on the defense, and this seems to be because of his strong short-area burst, but on tape, he didn’t finish a single one of those blitzes for a sack, despite having many opportunities. He notably bounced right off of Clemson QB DeShaun Watson despite a free release.

Conley is a very confident player, constantly attempting to read the QB’s eyes, and rarely allows large separation. This leads to excellent disruption on the ball at the point of the catch.

There are some red flags with his game, including his technique and tackling. Conley often looks like he’s playing out of control in coverage, which leads to wasted movement that he has to use his athleticism to compensate for, that will burn him at the next level. His tackling is atrocious at times, and this is also due to poor technique, as he doesn’t seem to understand how to square up and use leverage to his advantage. He’s often in the wrong position when attempting tackles as well.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 8 out of 10

 

While Conley has some fine moments on tape in this regard, particularly in breaking up a would-be TD on a 5-yard-out to receiver Dede Westbrook against Oklahoma, Conley struggles to diagnose read options and certain complicated route patterns.

 

Speed: 4 out of 5

 

While his straight line speed is exposed a few times on tape, especially by strong receiver prospect Mike Williams of Clemson, he more than makes up for it with explosive burst. This is the main reason Ohio State likes to put him in blitzing situations.

 

Mirroring: 9 out of 10

 

While he can get loose at times, Conley doesn’t have much trouble sticking to his receivers, and more than once on tape, he ran the receiver’s route better than the receiver.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

 

On those plays where Conley gets behind his receiver, be it from a pick play or just beat off the line on a fly, he’s always putting in maximum effort and uses his explosion to close gaps in a hurry.

 

Man: 13 out of 15

 

Conley likes to play man coverage, you can tell watching tape he feels he’s the best player on the field and he brings that swagger every down, he’ll need to clean up his footwork and hip swivel at the next level, but he rarely allows separation.

 

Zone: 13 out of 15

 

A natural eye-reader, Conley uses his cognitive abilities to his advantage in zone coverage. While his spacing isn’t always perfect, his explosion helps close gaps and disrupt catch attempts. This is on display in the best possible way against Wisconsin, where Conley closed seven yards from the time the QB decided his target on the play to when the ball reached the receiver. Conley jumped the route and made the easy pick.

 

Press: 4 out of 5

 

While Conley likes to press, he sometimes misses his bump which leads to issues on downfield throws against faster receivers, this was on display against Mike Williams.

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Far too many missed tackles to garner a positive rating. His technique is often terrible and he’s usually out of position, though he has a few really solid form tackles on tape and shows a willingness to try to bring receivers down in his area.

 

Ball Skills: 4 out of 5

 

Conley is often at his best when the ball is in the air. He dropped a couple of interceptions and misused his hands on a few 50-50 balls leading to catches on tape. For the most part, though, he’s very disruptive at the catch point and locates the ball early while it’s still in the air.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 2 out of 5

 

Same story as in pass defense, He flashes correct technique and contain principles, and on some plays just looks like a joke out there.

 

Play Recognition: 3 out of 5

 

With the exception, glaring though it is, of read option runs and designed quarterback runs, Conley seems able to read the direction of a running play well and takes nice angles to limit big gains.

 

Willingness: 3 out of 5

 

You get the feeling watching Conley sometimes that he wishes the offense wouldn’t run the ball, because he looks so much more comfortable in coverage, but he rarely shies away from the contact and doesn’t mind attempting tackles, even in the open field.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 9 out of 10

 

A minor shoulder injury was likely an anomaly. Conley’s health is not an issue going into the draft.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 79/100

 

Pro Comparison: T.J. Carrie, CB, Oakland Raiders

Ohio State v Michigan

carrie

Carrie has been an above average cover corner in this league for a couple of years now, really coming on in late 2016 after the injury to fellow Raiders corner D.J. Hayden, but that hasn’t helped his absolute deficiencies in tackling ball carriers. Conley and Carrie share similar frames, similar swagger, and similar technique issues that likely limit their ceiling as pros, at least in run support.

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Scouting Report: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

6’1 196 lbs.

 

humphrey-1

 

Tape Viewed: 2015 vs. Clemson, 2016 vs. USC, 2016 vs. Auburn, 2016 vs. Texas A&M

 

OVERVIEW

Humphrey is an absolute pleasure to watch at the cornerback position. He may not have taken a pro snap yet, but professional may be the best way to describe how he plays the game of football. He combines sound technique with natural instincts and a tenacity that stretches right to the whistle on every play.

The first thing you notice about Humphrey is his NFL-ready stature. He has the height and weight teams crave at number one corner. Humphrey possesses a good balance of man and zone coverage abilities, looking comfortable at any position, during any point of the game.

Humphrey boasts an all-around skill set as both a coverage player and eager run-supporter. He brings a nasty streak to his tackles, especially in swarm tackles when the play is stalled. Humphrey will contribute as a starter from day one on an NFL field, and will flourish into an elite player at his position within three years.

 

COVERAGE

 

Play Recognition: 9 out of 10

 

Against A&M, they were trying this bubble screen out of a stack two-receiver set, they tried the screen twice, then had receiver Josh Reynolds go downfield out of the same set, followed by another screen. Result of those four plays? -6 yards, a forced fumble, and an interception. Humphrey can absolutely dial in on his diagnose and shows that ability regularly.

 

Speed: 4 out of 5

 

Auburn tested Humphrey’s downfield coverage early and often, with fly patterns against his press coverage, he allowed zero receptions, but slight downfield separation. No other issues with speed show up on tape, and he showed exceptional functional speed in chasing down USC running back Ronald Jones from behind to limit a big gain.

 

Mirroring: 10 out of 10

 

Time and again on tape, Humphrey shows impressive ability to run with receivers all over the field.

 

Pursuit: 5 out of 5

 

Humphrey constantly uses his plus athleticism to disrupt plays, even those where his receiver isn’t targeted. In the 2015 National Championship against Clemson, Humphrey was forced to cover roughly 45 yards between two receivers, the moment QB DeShaun Watson unloaded the ball, Humphrey sprinted back to help the safety in coverage, covering about 20 of those yards to force an incomplete pass in the endzone.

 

Man: 14 out of 15

 

The best way to describe him in man is sticky. He likes to use his hands to feel the receiver’s directional changes, and may draw flags at the next level because of that. That’s really the only knock I could find.

 

Zone: 13 out of 15

 

While he’s clearly a man corner first, Humphrey looks like he can flourish in a Cover 2 scheme just as well. He understands the spacing concepts and uses anticipation well while reading the eyes of the quarterback.

 

Press: 4 out of 5

 

He looks like he loves to get physical at the line of scrimmage, but sometimes fails to get his bump, which has caused issues. That issue is scarce, however, and can be cleaned up with slightly better technique.

 

Tackle: 4 out of 5

 

Has a couple of missed tackles on tape, but is typically very reliable in this area, highlighted by those aforementioned screen plays against the Aggies.

 

Ball Skills: 4 out of 5

 

On tape, Humphrey did not drop any interceptable balls, which is exciting for his pro prospects, he has 8 career turnovers in 29 games in college (5 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. The only slight knock is a relative lack of pass deflections.

 

RUN SUPPORT

 

Tackle: 3 out of 5

 

While Humphrey is an aggressor when the play is stalled on runs to the outside, he doesn’t like to mix it up on the inside runs, which could help in the long run in terms of his health.

 

Play Recognition: 4 out of 5

 

He’s so smart with the way he positions himself, regardless of the situation, when the play is moving forward, he places himself in the best angle to limit the gain, when the play is moving backward, he sprints upfield to help with the tackle, and when the play is moving outside, he’s a capable edge setter, but has slight leverage issues as shown by a punishing pancake block against Clemson.

 

Willingness: 4 out of 5

 

He shows a clear eagerness to help whenever a run gets out of hand, but as previously mentioned, doesn’t like to get involved on inside runs.

 

GENERAL

 

Injury: 8 out of 10

 

A hamstring injury that limited him in practice before the college football playoffs in 2016 could be a concern going forward.

 

Total Prospect Rating: 86/100

 

Pro Comparison: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings

humphrey

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills

A little thicker than Humphrey but the same height, Rhodes is coming off a career year in which his stingy pass coverage and physical brand of play galvanized the third best pass defense in the NFL. Both Rhodes and Humphrey possess this physical nature and mean streak in both coverage and run support. Both also possess excellent ball skills to turn solid coverage into interceptions. Rhodes was solid from the get-go and has entered his prime relatively early, expect Humphrey to develop similarly.