Georgia Football: Why are we pretending to be surprised by Chris Conley’s performance at the NFL Combine?
Georgia’s offense reached new highs over the past four seasons. Over that same time period, no player accounted for more receiving yards than Chris Conley. So why the hell are we pretending to be stunned by his athleticism?
He ran a 4.35 at the combine—that’s damn fast. He jumped a million inches on the broad jump. He set a combine record on the vertical. Perhaps from a testing standpoint, he surpassed what was expected. But are we really floored that the most productive receiver in one of the most prolific offenses in the country is athletic?
The guy stood out in run-heavy offense. That’s hard to do. He did it against the nation’s best competition. That’s even harder to do. He did it in surprisingly sexy ways. Again, harder still to do.
Consider the following about Chris Conley:
- He averaged 16.6 yards per catch over the course of his four year career. For reference (not for comparison), A.J. Green averaged 15.8 yards per catch as a Bulldog.
- He caught a touchdown pass once every 5.85 receptions. Green scored once every 7.22 receptions.
- As a senior, Conley averaged 18.3 yards per reception while catching 36 passes. Only one other Bulldog in the last 20 years (Tavarres King in 2011) posted a YPC figure in excess of 18 while also hauling in 35 or more passes. Of note: Over that time frame 31 Bulldogs hauled in 35 or more receptions in a single season and failed to surpass 18 yards per catch.
- More than 76% of Conley’s 117 career receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown. That’s just stupid. He was above the team average by such a measure each and every season.
- Last year, 77.8% of Conley’s receptions moved the chains or put points on the board. For the rest of the team, that number was 67.4%.
- Each of Chris Conley’s final 15 collegiate receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown.
- Conley was an animal on late downs. He hauled in 29 career passes on third or fourth down. All but two resulted in a first down or score. Those 27 chain-moving or point-scoring receptions resulted in an average gain of 18.11 yards. The average amount of yardage needed: 6.04.
What part of these facts implies that Conley is anything other than a gamer?
Further, think about what you know about Chris Conley. He commits to mastering everything he does. He graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA. He recorded a 3.0 or higher in each academic term at Georgia and collected a cumulative GPA of 3.32. He won Georgia’s Sportsmanship and Ethics Award. He sat on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. His Star Wars fan film has nearly 500,000 views on YouTube and is almost Hollywood-ready.
Why would a guy who clearly has athleticism (see numbers above), an impeccable work ethic and a history of performing his best in the biggest moments not do well at the Combine?
Read more of my thoughts on Conley here.
That’s all I got/