Ohio State CB Gareon Conley is immensely talented but has some serious question marks. Is he worth drafting?
Ohio State CB Gareon Conley was probably someone Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears didn’t really look at originally. He was projected to go in the first round in the teens, perhaps the early 20s. He wasn’t good enough for the Bears to take at three, but he was too good for him to be available to the Bears in the second round.
A few days prior to the draft, Conley was accused of rape and his draft stock plummeted. Instant analysis was that he probably wouldn’t be drafted at all, but teams that were interested in the defensive back started doing their homework and had their own investigators look into this situation.
With this latest information, the question now becomes, should the Chicago Bears consider taking Conley? If Rapoport is right and Conley is now a third round pick, the Bears would be potentially in a very good position to select him with the 67th pick overall. From a talent perspective, this would be an absolute steal, but the Bears need to consider everything about Conley.
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While some teams feel there may not be anything to this accusation, until law enforcement concurs, there is always a possibility that he could face charges. There also needs to be concern about his character. While charges may not be filed, the Bears will have to consider his character. Perhaps something happened to a certain degree, or perhaps there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. There still may be questions that linger even if he isn’t charged.
Of course, there is also the possibility that there is nothing to this story and that there are no character concerns at all. It’s a very murky situation for NFL teams to navigate, but the Bears absolutely need to do their due diligence on this situation.
Also, keep in mind that the Ray McDonald signing blew up in Ryan Pace’s face a couple of years ago. Ownership is going to be very cautious about moving forward with someone who may have character issues when the Bears did not come across well publicly after McDonald got in more trouble and the Bears were forced to cut him (McDonald never played again in the NFL).
Whether Ryan Pace pulls the trigger on Conley if he’s sitting there at 67 is obviously up for debate, but if he’s there, the conversation needs to be had in the war room (and beforehand) if the Bears want to add a first round talent 50 selections after he should have been drafted. It’s an important conversation that they are almost certainly having right now at Halas Hall.