Gareon Conley vs TJ Carrie
The Raiders drafted Conley 24th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft despite allegations of sexual assault. If not for this allegation it’s likely he would have been drafted before the Raiders pick.
The 6-0, 195-pound corner has the physical ability to play inside or outside though will look to play in nickel situations immediately. He also excels in man coverage, a staple of the Raiders defensive scheme.
Conley was able to stand out playing in a secondary that featured two other first round picks in Marshon Lattimore (11th overall) and Malik Hooker (15th overall). In his three years at Ohio State the 21-year-old recorded 91 total tackles, 6 interceptions, and 15 passes defended in 36 games.
With all of the spread offenses in the NFL, a slot corner has to be able to stop the run. While Conley wasn’t a huge hitter for the Buckeyes, he was a solid tackler who didn’t shy away from contact.
The Raiders will give Conley every opportunity to earn a starting job though TJ Carrie will not make it easy for him. The former 7th round pick has made a career out of out performing guys drafted higher than him. Carrie was arguably the best cover corner on the roster as recently as 2 seasons ago.
Having played both safety and corner, TJ’s experience and versatility will be invaluable for the Raiders’ defense. With the frequency with which offenses deploy four and five receiver sets, even if TJ is not a starter, he will still have a role in the defense.
In 2016 Carrie accounted for 25 total tackles, 4 passes defended, and one interception. His interception came against Alex Smith so it should count for 3 because that is how many years watching a Chiefs game takes off your life.
While both players are battling for roles in the defense, expect both of them to contribute this season. For the first time in a long time there is actually some solid depth at corner for the Raiders regardless of which of these two sees the field the most.
Who will win this position battle?
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