Kansas City Chiefs rookie profile: Chris Conley
Sep 27, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Chris Conley (31) reacts with Georgia fans following the Bulldogs victory over the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Tennessee 35-32. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
There are a few other important areas of Chris Conley’s game that don’t fully belong in either the strength or weakness column at this point.
I wouldn’t describe Conley as a good or bad blocker at this point. He is a willing blocker who does give effort and at very least gets in the way of defenders and slows them down or interferes with them getting to the ball. I will say that he isn’t an overly physical blocker and you rarely see him drive defensive backs out of a play. I would describe the clip below as a pretty typical Conley block. Conley is lined up at the bottom of the screen.
Run After The Catch:
This is another area where Conley scores in the middle somewhere. On one hand, Conley’s explosive speed makes him a YAC threat because if he catches the ball in the open field he can explode for a huge gain. On the other hand, he doesn’t break hardly any tackles. This falls in line with Conley’s M.O. of not playing as physical as his abilities warrant.
In the clip below you’ll see Conley pick up some nice yards after the catch. This is the type of timing play that Conley could find success with in an Andy Reid/Alex Smith offense. However, you’ll see Conley get manhandled at the end of the play once a defender gets a hand on him (I believe he was flagged for a horse collar tackle).
Chris Conley is not what you would call a polished route runner, but his route running is not as poor as some reports might make you believe. I actually feel like Conley is a pretty solid route runner, but in Georgia’s run heavy offense he was just asked to stretch the field most of the time to open things up for Todd Gurley. When Conley was asked to run other routes he did a good (but not great) job of it.
Conley is a smooth route runner as opposed to a quick twitch route runner like Tyler Lockett that can change direction suddenly. Conley’s route running success has more to do with his ability to get free at the line of scrimmage than his actual route running ability. When Conley gets off the line his route is typically solid but physical coverage can have an effect on him.
The final clip below shows a play I believe the Chiefs and Alex Smith could have success running with Conley. This is the type of slant play that the Chiefs liked to run with Dwayne Bowe. However, notice how Conley’s speed allows him to get more separation from the corner than Bowe usually did. Conley is lined up at the top of the screen.
I believe that if KC is playing a team that is stacking the box to stop the run Conley can be a real weapon on the outside. If the defense puts a corner at the line of scrimmage to press him and he can beat it he’ll torch them deep. However, if the defense plays their corner back and gives Conley some cushion I think slant plays like the one above can be a reliable way to move the chains.
After watching extensive footage on Chris Conley I am very excited about his potential. There are definitely things that he needs to work on. First and foremost is simply playing more physical. That can be a hard thing to learn, but even if he never develops an overly physical game his raw physical gifts make him a dangerous weapon unlike we have seen in the Chiefs receiving corps in a very long time (maybe ever). A receiver with his size/speed/hands can change a game in the blink of an eye with a big play.
My advice for KC fans is to be patient with Conley and expect very inconsistent results. I can easily envision a scenario where one week Conley explodes with a couple of game changing big plays and then completely disappears for a few weeks, especially against teams with more physical corners.
However, even if Conley only has a huge impact on a handful of games this coming season that will still be more than any wide receiver did for the Chiefs last season and he isn’t even the wideout that KC is counting on for big production. That would be free-agent acquisition Jeremy Maclin. If Maclin is successful and the Chiefs continue to make Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles key parts of the passing game it will be difficult for teams to focus on Conley and that is when he could break a game open with one of his signature big plays.
I don’t know that Chris Conley will ever be a consistent go to number one wide receiver but having a number two wideout that has the physical tools to change a game on any given snap is a huge plus. If that’s what the Chiefs got with a third round draft pick I’d call that a win.
So what do you think Addicts? Are you excited about Conley’s big play upside? Does his lack of physicality against defenders concern you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!