NFL Draft rumors: Gareon Conley expected to be drafted despite rape accusation

News broke Monday night that a woman had accused Conley of raping her at a Cleveland hotel this month. He has denied the allegations.

It doesn't appear Gareon Conley will meet the same draft-day fate as La'el Collins did two years ago, when a late-breaking legal question resulting in him falling completely out of the draft.

According to NFL Media, most teams believe Conley, the former Ohio State cornerback, will be selected at some point in this week's draft, with three general managers predicting he'll go in the third round.

Conley and his representatives have been scrambling to reassure NFL teams after news broke Monday night that a woman had accused the 21-year-old of raping her at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month. He has not been arrested or charged in connection with the alleged April 9 incident.

Conley issued a vigorous denial of the accusations in a letter sent to teams and media outlets Wednesday, and ESPN reported Thursday morning that Conley has spoken personally to representatives of at least 24 teams in the past two days.

“These guys do their homework,” Conley's attorney, Kevin Spellacy, told USA Today Sports on Wednesday. “Nothing in his background suggests this would ever happen, and you know why? Because it didn’t happen. Now what’s happening is their fans or somebody will resent that they drafted somebody who’s under scrutiny. That’s it.”

The USA Today report said Conley is expected to speak with Cleveland police Monday, by which point he also figures to know who his NFL employer will be.

Two years ago, Collins, a standout offensive lineman at LSU, signed a free-agent deal with the Cowboys about a week after the draft. Reports had emerged just before the event that police wanted to speak with him in connection with the shooting death of his former girlfriend. Though he was never named as a suspect, the uncertainty was enough for some teams to remove him from their draft boards altogether, and his agents told teams he would sit out the 2015 season if he was drafted later than the third round.

MORE: NFL Draft 2017: Gareon Conley releases statement regarding rape allegations | NFL Draft 2017: Top CB prospect Gareon Conley accused of rape, report says

Collins worked his way into the Cowboys' starting lineup his rookie year but in 2016 suffered a season-ending toe injury in Week 3.


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