When the Oakland Raiders drafted cornerback Gareon Conley, he had allegations of sexual assault hanging over his head. Because of this, many fans believed general manager Reggie McKenzie should have drafted middle linebacker Reuben Foster, who had taken a surprise tumble down draft boards and was unexpectedly available for Oakland at pick 24.
Then, once Conley spent most of his rookie season nursing injuries while Foster had a rather impressive rookie season, fans felt even more strongly that Oakland made the wrong decision drafting Conley over Foster.
But now, just weeks into their first offseason, the roles have changed. As it turns out, no charges were pressed against Conley, who is now free and clear of any off of the field drama. Meanwhile, Foster has been arrested twice in just under a month, once for possession of marijuana and once on suspicion of domestic violence, threats, and possession of an assault rifle.
So while Raiders fans are hoping against hope that Conley doesn’t turn into another D.J. Hayden, an often injured first-round corner who never lived up to expectations, the Niners are hoping Foster doesn’t turn into another Aldon Smith, a defender with insane amounts of talent who couldn’t seem to get past his off of the field issues.
To date, Foster has shown more on the football field, and based solely on what’s happened between the hash marks, Foster is the better bet. But Conley has yet to really spenD much time on the field, so his potential is still very high; and unlike with Foster, Conley has managed to keep his name out of the news so far this offseason.
Given how many issues the Raiders locker room supposedly had this past season, in particular when it came to self discipline, I think it’s fairly safe to say that Oakland is happy with the risk they’re facing vs. the risk the Niners are facing. It’s easier to deal with realizing you’ve missed on a player talent wise than to have a player with a ton of talent who can’t seem to keep the rest of his life in order to he can use that talent on the field.
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