A little more than a year ago, your Houston Texans traded a third round pick to the Raiders to acquire Gareon Conley. Conley, selected 24th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, had flashed a bit in Oakland but had not lived up to his first round pedigree. It was awfully early for the Raiders to give up on him, and Houston’s secondary was horrendous. Bill O’Brien took a flyer on young talent. The choice to trade for the young cornerback certainly doesn’t rank among O’Brien’s worst decisions as Houston’s football czar. That may be damning O’Brien with faint praise, but you catch my drift.
I’d say Conley’s performance as a Texan in 2019 was uneven. He wasn’t terrible, but he also wasn’t consistently good. I’ll defer to the learned defensive backs among you, but to my untrained eye, it seemed like he left something to be desired in coverage and that the passes he did break up often occurred in a fashion that appeared more a function of luck than skill. Specifically, I recall a number of passes last year hitting him in the back, or at least occurring when his back was turned, as opposed to him facing or angled toward the line of scrimmage and making a play on the ball. Admittedly, that may be nitpicking. A pass break-up is a pass break-up, and Texans fans are in no position to be choosy. If nothing else, I don’t think any reasonable dispute can be had that Conley was markedly better than fellow first round cornerback acquisition (through a waiver claim, not trade) Vernon Hargreaves III.
Conley underwent surgery during the offseason and began the campaign on Injured Reserve. There hasn’t been much positive news about Conley’s progress since the season started, and Romeo Crennel recently said Conley wasn’t close to a return. Today, Aaron Wilson reported that the Texans have “no expectation” that Conley will play at all this year.
Gareon Conley had complications from his offseason arthroscopic ankle surgery, rehab didn't go well, issues affected mobility, flexibility pain level during camp. There's no expectation from the team that pending free agent will play this year and will remain on injured reserve— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 13, 2020
Even if you’re not high on Conley, there’s no doubt the Texans’ atrocious secondary could use him right now, so this is a bummer to hear no matter what. I mentioned on Twitter that I didn’t know who the Raiders drafted with the third round pick they got from Houston but that I was confident whoever it was would contribute more to
Oakland Las Vegas than Conley did to the Texans. Turns out the Raiders traded that pick to the Patriots, who took Devin Asiasi with the selection.
Texas gave up pick#91 which Raiders traded down (along with #159) to Patriots and picked ILB Tanner Muse (#91), Amik Robertson (#139) effectively. Pats picked Asiasi who is on IR now pic.twitter.com/kxd6pNZdg0— Houston Football (@Houstonfootbal3) November 13, 2020
In a cruel twist of irony, Asiasi is on IR as well. Best of luck to him and Conley as they work toward getting back on the field. Conley will be a free agent after this season, so it remains to be seen whether his time in Houston has come to an end or what kind of market there will be for him coming off this kind of injury setback. There’s a very good chance, however, that the Texans traded a third round pick for ten games of Gareon Conley. That is suboptimal.