Meet the NFL Combine's Most Athletic WR: Chris Conley

Alessandro Miglio@@AlexMiglioFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2015

Georgia's Chris Conley is pursued by Clemson's Robert Smith, left, and Garry Peters during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.(AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your most athletic wide receiver at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine—Chris Conley out of the University of Georgia.

I know what you're thinking. "But, what about Kevin White? He ran a 4.35 40 at 6'3" and 205 pounds, you idiot!" 

Well, sure. White turned heads and probably solidified himself as a top-10 draft pick.

"And then there's Jaelen Strong, who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and jumped 42 inches vertically, Dummy."

That's impressive. I might be able to clear a quarter of that.

"You're overlooking J.J. Nelson. He had the fastest at 4.28 seconds, and he had a 10-foot, seven-inch broad jump to boot."

Fair enough.

You know who did better than all those combined? Chris Conley. The Georgia wideout brought the whole package to Indianapolis and left with plenty of swag.

Conley ran his best 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.41 seconds. That time got bumped up in the official tally to 4.35 seconds, tied for third-best at the combine at his position.

His vertical jump? Conley hit 45 inches, a combine record for wide receivers. His broad jump? Eleven feet, seven inches—also a combine record at his position. Ben Natan noted Conley's broad jump and vertical jump ranking in the 100th percentile:

Ben Natan @TheBenNatan

Chris Conley got 100th Percentile in broad jump and vertical jump. Goodness gracious.

Who is Chris Conley, anyway? That's the question many fans were probably asking themselves after his explosive performance. 

Georgia's leading receiver the past couple of seasons entered the combine as a relative unknown. He isn't discussed as a top option at receiver, which is not a huge surprise considering his college production.

Granted, how much we can really deduce from that in context is questionable at best. Hutson Mason—Conley's quarterback for the vast majority of 2014—attempted just 277 passes, tied for 94th-most in college last season. 

Chris Conley's Collegiate Stats

Georgia's run-heavy offense is the real reason his volume took a hit last season. 

His scouting reports paint a cloudy picture, and those aren't the Bob Ross happy kind of clouds. From a smooth route-runner with good ball skills to a weak receiver with slower game speed, Conley is a bit of a mystery, at least according to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. 

This is Conley warming up for the 40-yard dash. Or levitating.
This is Conley warming up for the 40-yard dash. Or levitating.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Regardless of his combine performance, the 6'3", 205-pound surprise has a long way to go. Conley wasn't even draftable in some eyes, and running around in underwear—even at high speeds—won't do much to sway minds.

After all, the ghost of Mike Mamula still haunts Lucas Oil Stadium. 

You remember Mamula, right? No? He's the legendary Boston College defensive end who was the original workout warrior at the combine. His 28 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, 38.5-inch vertical leap and 4.58-second 40-yard dash turned enough head to cause the Philadelphia Eagles to trade up and snag him at No. 7 in the 1995 draft.

Five disappointing years later, Mamula was out of the league.

Still, a ridiculous combine performance is a great way to start up the hype train during draft season, especially for a relatively unknown player. There is zero chance he'll be drafted anywhere near the first round, but Conley may have gone from priority free agent to sixth-round flier.

Josh Norris of Rotoworld pointed out Conley's vertical and broad-jump measurements tied records set in 2006, Peter Bukowski of Sports Illustrated noted Conley's performance validated the combine's importance and NFL Philosophy was simply impressed by this talented young man:

Josh Norris @JoshNorris

#UGA WR Chris Conley 45" vertical: tied for best since 2006 among all positions 11'7" broad: tied for best since 2006 among ALL positions

Peter Bukowski @Peter_Bukowski

Chris Conley showing why the combine DOES matter. He blows up the measurables. May force teams to go back and take second look at his tape.

NFL Philosophy @NFLosophy

Files for notes during filmwork. Whew. RT @evansilva: Chris Conley 11-foot-7 broad jump, 45-inch vertical. WOW.

Perhaps one reason why Conley had everybody sleeping on his athleticism is the fact there isn't much film on him out there, at least not yet. DraftBreakdown.com is the go-to resource for game cutups, and the good folks at that underrated site have yet to upload a single one for Conley.

It's probably safe to assume Conley rose to the top of their to-do list.

Once Conley is done with his football career, he might have a future in Hollywood. The multi-talented wideout spent a summer creating another kind of film—a Star Wars flick that melds lightsabers with SEC football.

Conley wasn't even a film major, as he told USA Today's Nicole Auerbach: 

I'm not a film major. When I was writing the script (for Retribution), I didn't write in the correct script format. I didn't know about being a director, how you go about doing film. I took a crash course from November to March in being a filmmaker.

No film school. I read things online. Magazines, books. I said, 'If I want to do this, I want to do it well.' From there, I had to learn a lot, had to make a lot of mistakes.

Before this, I wasn't really thinking about this industry that much. Now that I've had a little bit of work in it, I really like it.

With that kind of athleticism, Conley should get a long enough look to put that movie-directing career on the back burner for a little while. Whether he can translate it to NFL-level talent will be a question one potentially lucky team will get to answer in the coming months and years.

May the Force be with him.

All combine results courtesy of NFL.com