Training Camp Roster Preview: TE C.J. Conrad
C.J. Conrad almost didn't make it to the NFL.
Invited to the NFL scouting combine after a successful career at the University of Kentucky, Conrad was found to have a heart issue-- Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)--during the medical exams done at the combine.
That medical discovery likely sent Conrad right off of several teams' draft boards.
Conrad, stunned by the diagnosis, sought another opinion from doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital. There he learned that he didn't have ARVC, but rather enlarged pulmonary artery, a condition that will require observation but which shouldn't prevent him from playing football.
That's excellent news for both Conrad and the Giants, who look as though they could be a match made in NFL heaven.
Almost right from the get-go, Conrad has impressed with his pass receiving abilities. He optimizes his catch radius and has done an excellent job pulling in balls that were way off target while not losing his balance. He also glides as a runner, reminding one of a younger Rhett Ellison.
Conrad, who will work on special teams, still has to show what he can do as a blocker, but one would think having blocked at Kentucky, where he practiced against some NFL quality edge players, this would be another strength in his game.
Based on his sled work with the Giants, he seems to have decent enough technique, but moving against a bigger, faster and stronger edge rusher is quite another story.
If you're looking for a classic "sleeper" to win a roster spot, Conrad is it, barring injury. There's too much not to like about this young man and what he's brought to this team.