From the FanPosts -Joel
The offseason is that part of the year when you don’t have enough to read about Kansas City Chiefs football. You log in multiple times a day, hoping to see the next in-depth analysis from MNchiefsfan, only to be disappointed time and again. I do realize he has a real job but somehow refreshing the page multiple times a day gives me hope that a new article will show up magically. Disappointment slowly leads to hope; hope that the next article will somehow prove that one of our rookies will be in contention for the rookie of the year in 2015.
It is during times like these when you start fantasizing about the potential of your favorite team. Being fortunate enough to have an otherworldly defense allows us Chiefs fans to focus on the potential of our offense. We question if we finally have the set of WRs who can form the backbone of this offense for the next 3-4 years. Do they have the speed, strength and tracking skills that will allow Alex Smith to FINALLY throw deep?
I realized that the answer to this question lies in a host of other questions; regarding my favorite draft pick and possibly, GM John Dorsey’s favorite draft pick, a.k.a Chris Conley. (Dorsey traded up to get this guy and we all know how much he loves his draft picks. He only parts with them to get the QBOTF Alex Smith, Pro Bowl G Ben Grubbs, etc. You get the idea. The guy loves his draft picks as much as his Chiefs hoodie.)
I wondered how good the new kid on the block could be? Will he be the next Jon Baldwin (hope I didn’t pass on the curse with that statement) or Dwayne Bowe (not my favorite receiver but the best we have drafted in a while) or AJ Green or Demaryius Thomas or Calvin Johnson (the WRs we all have been waiting to be DRAFTED by our own GM for a decade)? While I can’t answer that question before seeing his production at the NFL level for a couple of years, what I can do is draw parallels between him and other NFL WRs.
For this article, Conley gets the honor of being compared to an elite NFL wide receiver whose identity won’t be revealed until the very end.
To begin, let’s look at the measurables; the numbers that are every NFL analyst’s bread and butter before the Combine. On the right is Conley, and on the left are the measurables of the elite NFL WR when he was coming out of college.
The elite guy in question could be his brother from another mother if purely looking at numbers. They both are approximately 6'3 tall and have an almost identical arm length. Even though Conley loses in weight (213 vs 220 lbs), he beats out the elite dude in the size of his hands (9'7/8 vs 9'3/4). Both are SEC guys (hint!) and have exceptional catching ability which is probably something that can be attributed to their large hands. Here is what experts were saying about them before the draft:
Elite Guy: "Flashes outstanding hands and ball skills, will make the highlight grabs and haul in passes well outside his frame."
Conley: "Hands-catcher who snatches away from his body."
Now, just because a guy looks like an elite WR doesn’t mean he’ll become one. If that logic was true, Andy Reid would be the wing eating champion. (On a second thought, I bet he could give them a run for their money). Getting back to the draft, hundreds of athletes enter the draft process with a similar stature as our reference elite WR but how many can actually do this:
For reference, the bottom one is Conley’s numbers from the Combine and the other one belongs to our Elite WR. Initially, Conley has the elite WR beaten easily. A better 40 yard dash time (same or better straight line speed), 18 reps for the bench press (same or better strength while making contested catches), 45" vertical (can out jump any CB be it Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis), 139" broad jump (same or better explosiveness during the start of the route).
This is where things start changing. The Elite WR has a better 3 cone drill, 20 yard shuttle and 60 yard shuttle time but we could argue that the difference isn’t much. I would bet that those numbers could be improved by a margin of 10-20 percent within a year in an NFL conditioning program.
This brings us to the big reveal. Who is this elite WR we have been talking about? Ladies and gentlemen, that WR is Quintorris Lopez Jones a.k.a Julio Jones.
Think about it for a second. We just compared the measurables and performance metrics of our third round pick with one of the best WRs in the game today. I don’t know about you but I would even take 90 or 80 or even 70 percent of Julio Jones and be a happy camper.
By now, we all know Conley is a workout warrior but the question still remains: Can he translate his physical gifts to actual production in the NFL? We know what happened when someone asked the same questions regarding Dontari Poe a couple years back and the rest is history. But what allows me to be cautiously optimistic about Conley is that I can see the same intangibles that some may associate with Poe. The kid looks humble, seems like a hard worker, talks about being professional in every facet of his life, treats football as a job and wants to be genuinely the best at everything he does. Those are the intangibles that allow a good player to become great!!
Before I end this pipe dream of an article, I’ll end with another stat that might cement this comparison. Both Conley and Julio had the same average yards per catch in their junior year (14.5 yards). The number is the same down to the decimal.