Reports: Projected First Rounder Gareon Conley Accused Of Rape, Denies Allegations
Gareon Conley is widely projected to be a top 25 player in Thursday night’s NFL Draft. However, recent allegations of rape could have an impact on that.
The 2017 NFL Draft is set to begin in just over 48 hours. There are a lot of players that are hoping to have their names called on Thursday night, and one of them was Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. The Buckeyes star was one of a trio of Ohio State defensive backs that were expected to be in the running for top 25 picks. In fact, Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com recently mocked Conley to the Redskins at No. 17 overall.
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Conley was generally considered to be the third best among the group of Ohio State players, but some actually preferred Conley to his teammate, cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Our own Ian Cummings had Conley ranked as No. 2 among cornerbacks, and said the following of his skill set:
"Conley possesses the size of a prototypical NFL cornerback, and he uses his stellar length to make plays on the ball. Conley’s foot movement is superb, and rarely does he find himself behind on a play. He displayed impressive consistency at the collegiate level, allowing just a 37 percent completion rate in 2016. Together, he and Marshon Lattimore formed the best cornerback tandem in the NCAA, without a doubt."
As good as Conley is, there is a chance that he is going to slide in the draft. He was recently named in a rape case, according to a police report obtained by TMZ Sports. The woman’s account of what happened is outlined in the TMZ story. Conley has adamantly denied the claims and has not yet been charged with anything. NFL.com reported on the nature of the investigation in their recent story on the matter.
"Conley, 21, has not been charged or arrested in connection to the alleged incident, according to Cleveland Police Dept. spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia. No warrant has been issued and the department’s sex crimes and child abuse units are investigating, Ciaccia added. A spokeswoman with the Cuyahoga County District Attorney’s Office told NFL.com that the police have not turned over any information related to the investigation.Conley has not been interviewed yet by police. Investigators have reached out to him and are in the process of scheduling an interview with him, Ciaccia said."
Additionally, Conley’s attorney called the accusations “ludicrous and ridiculous” per the story. And as a result of all this happening, Conley has decided not to attend the draft in Philadelphia this week, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Even if the allegations are false, Conley is almost certainly going to slip in the draft. Any time this sort of issue comes up near draft day, teams become wary of selecting prospects. Consider 2016, when Laremy Tunsil was potentially going to be a top three pick, but fell to 13 because a video of him smoking from a bong was uploaded to his social media accounts.
In 2015, offensive lineman La’el Collins ended up going undrafted, as he was set to speak to police about murder charges just days after the draft. Collins was not even a suspect in that case. He had a previous relationship with the victim, and law enforcement made it clear that he was not involved in the crime. Still, it pushed him from the first round all the way to the ranks of the undrafted.
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It’s hard to say exactly how Conley could be impacted by this. The fact is that teams tend to assume the worse about crimes, and often display recency bias when talking about specific incidents. For now, Conley is innocent until proven guilty. Still, there is a good chance he will slide in the draft if teams are not comfortable with the details of the crime.