The Rundown: The Long-Term Gamble by the Houston Texans for The Immediate Help of Gareon Conley
The Houston Texans under de facto general manager and head coach Bill O'Brien, continue to be aggressive when the time calls for it to be. The Texans have been dealing with injuries to the cornerback position group with Bradley Roby (hamstring), Phillip Gaines (ankle), and Keion Crossen (head) all going down this past week.
The cornerback group was lacking depth but, more importantly, a talent that can help in coverage. With the free-agent market for cornerbacks dried up, O'Brien and company went to work to find a solution to address an immediate need at the position.
Enter cornerback Gareon Conley from the Oakland Raiders, a former first-round selection in 2017 that the Texans were able to pry away for a 2020 third-round selection.
Here is a closer look at the addition of Gareon Conley for the Texans.
The Impact of Gareon Conley
Fresh Start for Gareon Conley
The Texans needed immediate at the cornerback position and found it with a value deal with the Raiders with Conley. A first-round pick of the Jack Del Rio era for the Raiders, Conley was never a fit for Jon Gruden's new systems since arriving in 2018.
Attempting to fit their new look of being able to play man coverage in 2019, they feel Conley is a better fit for them in Houston. The Raiders were primarily a zone team, not what Conley does best as a cornerback.
Conley will be on the field this Sunday against his former team, suiting up and being part of the defensive game plan.
Short Term Help With Long Term Potential
The defense needs help now, and Conley will be called upon to be part of the cornerback rotations due to the injuries. With Bradley Roby dealing with a hamstring injury and Phillip Gaines being placed on the injured reserve. Conley will move into one of the top three spots at the position heading into this weekend.
What should not be ignored is the fact that Conley, being a first-round selection, is only in year three of his rookie contract. The Texans could pick up his fifth-year option, which takes place in 2012. Conley is still in Houston for a half a season and possibly could be with the organization for another two seasons after 2019.
Only 24 years old, Conley's arrival is a forward-thinking move that helps with a positional need that had to be addressed. The trade also allows the Texans to head into the off-season having a young cornerback on the roster, they will have Conley under contract and can attempt to develop even further into next season.
The deal has the potential to be a savvy decision if everything works out to plan, but the Texans' immediate need for help has been addressed.
Proven Players Over Draft Picks
The Texans remain on the hunt for proven players with NFL experience over draft picks since O'Brien and company took over the roster building.
Add Gareon Conley to a growing list of proven players the Texans want to use to improve their roster. Conley joins Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, Duke Johnson, and Carlos Hyde as key veterans the team has added to improve the roster instead of depending on the draft.
The shift in proven players is evident in 2019, and Conley is the newest edition of this new line of thinking.
Texans Building an Athletic Cornerback Group
There are risks involved, and the trade for Gareon Conley leaves the Texans with a much different group that anyone envisioned before the season started.
The Texans have the potential to have Conley, Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, and Lonnie Johnson, Jr. on the field once everyone can get back on the field.
Even better for the Texans, if they can find common ground with Roby, who is on a one-year deal with the Texans. If Roby returns to the Texans, the cornerback group will have a solid foundation heading into 2020. Roby, Conley, and Johnson are a much more dynamic group, from an athletic standpoint, that the Texans have had in some time.
Conley's addition gives the Texans some much-needed help but, more importantly, flexibility heading into the 2020 season at the position.
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