Gareon Conley Was on His Way to Being Benched Before Raiders Got a 3rd-Round Pick for Him

Gareon Conley was traded to the Houston Texans on Monday and it was a deal that must have come together quickly after Conley’s difficult afternoon against the Packers.

Other than Sunday’s rough showing, Sports Illustrated NFL insider Albert Breer said Conley also had a couple other factors going against him in Oakland – including a young player the Raiders are excited to get on the field.

“First, the guy who drafted him, former Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie, was fired by the Raiders in December, so naturally there’s less investment in the player,” Breer wrote on Monday. “Second, Oakland is pretty optimistic about a trio of young corners they have on the come—second-round pick Trayvon Mullen, fourth-round pick Isaiah Johnson (who’s coming back off of IR) and undrafted free agent Keisean Nixon. By trading away Conley, these guys will get a ton of work for the rest of the year, and the team will head into next year’s draft with three third-round picks, which should pair nicely with their two No. 1s.”

Beyond what Breer said of Conley, it was no secret that the Raiders coaching staff was never sold on him. Even though Conley finally stayed healthy for an entire offseason, the coaches never implied that Conley stood out as the team’s top cornerback. Ultimately, the only standing out Conley seemed to do this year was for the wrong reasons and getting torched by an inexperienced group of wide receivers on Sunday was apparently the final straw – so much that if he wasn’t traded, Conley was reportedly going to be benched.

Vic Tafur, who broke the news that Conley was traded, talked about the former first-round pick after the Packers game and added that Conley never seemed to have a strong drive to get better.

“You always hear Gruden talk about ‘this guy loves football, he’s a guy who eats and loves football,’” Tafur said of Conley on his weekly State of the Nation podcast. “I don’t get the impression that Gareon Conley really loves football.”

Even watching from afar, it was easy to see Conley just wasn’t clicking in Oakland. There is some optimism that he might play better in a system that features more man coverage (as Houston does), but more than anything else it just seems Conley doesn’t have the physical nature required to be an above average cornerback.

Now Conley gets to the face the Raiders this week as a member of the Texans. That should be interesting.

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