On Monday evening I put virtual ink to paper and wrote that the Dallas Cowboys would likely be taking a look at an explosive wide receiver prospect to fill a role as weapon in the kick return game. Confirmation of that prognostication came with the news that the team is taking a look at University of Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley. Explosive might actually be a slight understatement when used to describe the former Bulldog. Conley turned in one of the most impressive performances ever at the 2015 NFL Combine.
Conley ran a 4.35 40, which is impressive, sure. It's the third-fastest time amongst wide receivers at the combine. Which is good.
But on the standing vertical leap, he jumped 45 inches. That's the best ever by a wide receiver, and one off combine record of 46 inches set by safety Donald Washington in 2006.
And on the broad jump, he jumped 11 feet, seven inches. That's also a record for wide receivers, and ties the combine record set by defensive end Jamie Collins in 2013.
It was that breakout effort at the Underwear Olympics that really put Conley on the map for many draftniks. He is not one of the top wide outs on the market this season. According to NFLDraftScout, Conley is just barely inside the top 20 at his position. This ranks him as a later day-two or possibly a day-three selection. He is not a player that can be expected to come in and make an impact on the offense immediately. Any contributions that he makes will likely come on special teams.
With his speed and explosiveness, Conley can become a difference-maker returning kicks for a professional team. He hits full speed quickly and appears effortless in doing so. He also has the ability to kick it in to high gear and blow by potential tacklers. These are traits that serve a return specialist well. There is only one major issue holding me back from giving Conley a ringing endorsement as a kick returner; he has no actual experience fielding kicks. Only time will tell if that will be a legitimate concern or not.
All the signs are there to say that he would be a good return man. He is lightning quick, he is explosive, and he has that extra gear than only a few possess. He also has a good pair of hands. All that is left is for him to prove that he can actually do the job that will likely become his primary role during the early days of his professional career. That will only happen in one place, and that is on the football field. Perhaps the Cowboys may be the team that gives him that opportunity.