Among the many storylines heading into Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft was the one involving sexual assault allegations made against former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley.
Conley strongly denied the accusation and reportedly passed a polygraph test, but there was some doubt that he’d remain a first-round pick with the cloud hanging overhead. Conley did wind up going before the night was out when the Raiders selected him at No. 24.
After the pick was made, General Manager Reggie McKenzie said he spoke to owner Mark Davis about picking Conley after doing work that convinced him that picking the corner wasn’t an undue risk.
“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process, and we trust our research, reports, everything we have on Mr. Conley,” McKenzie said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We feel really good about having him join the Raiders, and having him be a great teammate. The research was done. It wasn’t just a gut [feeling]. It was based on research, and we are very confident in all the information we got. I don’t want to get into all the details about who we talked to. The bottom line is, we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were. We feel really good about the pick and where it’s going.”
It’s a move that comes with obvious risks for McKenzie, Davis and the Raiders if things should play out differently than they expect on the legal front, but the team headed for Vegas obviously felt comfortable rolling the dice anyway.