If there is a silver lining to the 2018 season it was the development of several young players including second-year former top pick cornerback Gareon Conley.
In weeks five and six, Conley was essentially benched playing just 12 snaps total. This led to Conley’s name was also mentioned as a potential trade piece as the midseason deadline approached.
Luckily, for the Raiders, Conley was given a reprieve and he took full advantage of the opportunity.
In the final six games of the season, Conley registered eight of his 15 pass deflections along with two of his team-leading three interceptions, and 16 of his 37 tackles.
Let’s look back on his top plays from 2018.
First career interception a pick six versus the Browns
If you are going to make your first career interception you may as well do it in style, and that’s exactly what Gareon Conley did in week four against the Browns.
Marcus Gilchrist tipped a Baker Mayfield pass right into the arms of Conley who took it straight to the house. The touchdown got the scoring started in what would be a thrilling 45-42 overtime win for the Raiders.
Great ball skills by Conley. First career INT goes for a pick six. pic.twitter.com/yQKyOcZNqA— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) October 1, 2018
Tight coverage on Antonio Brown leads to Tahir Whitehead interception
Plays like this one is the reason Conley was selected in the first round to be a shutdown corner.
Matching up man to man with Antonio Brown is not an easy task but Conley ran step for step with Brown. Conley was able to reach around Brown and deflect the ball into the hands of teammate Tahir Whitehead.
Gareon Conley with textbook coverage on Antonio Brown. Conley is definitely trending in the right direction. Future looks bright for him. pic.twitter.com/f0bJ2P910L— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 9, 2018
Another pass deflection turns into a Raiders interception
Conley returns the favor from week four to teammate Marcus Gilchrist. Once again Conley shows his ability in man coverage, tipping Lamar Jackson’s deep ball to Gilchrist for the interception.
Conley deflects the pass and Gilchrist comes up with the INT. Conley continue to get better. pic.twitter.com/JOupZHBbPe— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) November 26, 2018
Conley comes off coverage to intercept Josh Rosen
We’ve seen the ball skills, abilities man coverage, and in this clip Conley demonstrates his instincts and ability to read and react.
Conley was in deep coverage and in reaction to an erratic throw by Rosen, breaks off his coverage and makes a play on the ball to come up with his second interception of the season.
Three plays later Derek Carr found Jared Cook for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
Picking off under thrown pass by Patrick Mahomes
This play could have turned out much worse for the Raiders had Patrick Mahomes not slightly under thrown speedster Tyreek Hill.
Hill, running a go route was able to get a step on Conley and his help over top, Erik Harris. Tracking the ball through the air, Conley undercuts the route and takes the ball away from Hill.