Can Raiders traverse Revis Island?

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Can Raiders traverse Revis Island?

ALAMEDA -- Darrelle Revis is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. He has his own nickname, Revis Island, and is, obviously, one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL.So what makes the New York Jets defensive playmaker so good?"He's a tremendously gifted athlete, No. 1," said Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders. "In this league, those who are very gifted are usually the ones that are very successful if they put in the time and effort and energy to know what they're able to do and have great technique, and hes a great technique player. Oftentimes you get defensive backs on the corner that can do some things. Theres very little that he has shown he cannot do."He covers well up the field, he gets out of breaks really well, he closes the cushion well, he's got speed. He's a tremendous football player."Even if a relative lack of statistics belies that fact. Because while he did not have an interception last season, his burn rate of 33.9 percent (19 completions on the 56 passes thrown his way) was the best in the NFL. Buffalo's Terrence McGee was second at 38.1 percent (eight of 21), followed by the 39.4 percent of the Raiders' Stanford Routt
(39-99) and Nnamdi Asomugha (13-33).Practicing against Asomugha last season might have prepared Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell for Revis this weekend."The difference between him and Nnamdi is Nnamdi is a taller corner," Campbell said. "But the way both of them play the ball is very similar, their break on the ball, their anticipation of routes. Sometimes they break into a route before the route even develops. That just comes from studying and game-planning during the week. Its a challenge."He plays the ball very well in the air. Just like a lot of great corners, you see a guy stick his nose in there in the run game, that's something he does. He doesn't shy away from it. You know, he has a tremendous talent, and those guys don't come around very often. He's one of them."In the Jets' record-setting 38-0 blowout of the Raiders two seasons ago, Revis picked off JaMarcus Russell in the end zone late in the first quarter. The Jets only led 14-0 at the time.But this is a different Raiders team. Russell is long gone."They've got a lot of fast guys in the offense, and it's very productive," Revis said. "We believe over here that they're an explosive offense and they can hurt you in a lot of ways."The same can be said of Revis.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.

That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. The Raiders don't believe they did with a selection accompanied by a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep a player in town.

They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, before making a selection. Results gave the Raiders confidence in their choice. 

Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.

Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was suggested. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation and an investigation into it on Monday.

Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.

The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”

McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.

“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.

The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.

The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.

“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”