The speculation about how far Gareon Conley would fall in the NFL Draft following rape accusations earlier in the week didn’t last long. It took 24 picks and just about three hours.
The Oakland Raiders took the Ohio State cornerback 24th overall, a move that was surprising to some given the circumstances. The questions surrounding Conley — and an incident at the Cleveland Westin on April 8 — were asked immediately and won’t be going away in the near future.
But Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie felt strongly enough in Conley, on and off the field, to answer them.
“I understand the issues involved,” McKenzie told Sports Illustrated. “But we did our research, and we read all the reports, and we did more than our due diligence. After all the information we got, we were comfortable with making this choice and confident in who this player is.”
Conley has maintained his innocence since the allegations surfaced and has not been charged with a crime as a police investigation continues. In the two days between the accusation and the draft, Conley reportedly spoke with two dozen teams to answer questions and tell his side of the story. He even underwent a polygraph test at the request of the Ravens and passed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Source: A team that is interested in Gareon Conley in the 1st rd asked him to submit to a polygraph by a certified administrator. He passed
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 28, 2017
As the investigation continues, Conley is a Raider. He was thankful to get that phone call Thursday night.
“When they called,” Conley told reporters, “it was the best moment of my life. Just to know they have faith in me, not just as a football player but as a person, speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it.”