ALAMEDA, Calif. — Lester Hayes first took notice of Gareon Conley from the autumn of 2015with all the Oakland Raiders iconic cornerback scribbling his observations on a notepad since he filled his Saturday afternoons watching college football.

Conley grabbed the interest of & ldquo; The Judge & rdquo; with technique and his understated rate.

“He’s not just a 4.45-speed guy. He’s more like 4.4-flat. That boy could catch up. You’t got to have a fee in one step, a burst. He’s got it. ”

The 6-foot Conley isn’t the cornerback in the league, so he’ll never be as physical as Hayes had been in his prime. But that was Hayes giving Conley some pregame pointers, which did not consist of stickum, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday.

And that was Conley playing with 59 of 60 defensive snaps and making life miserable for Pittsburgh Steelers AllPro receiver Antonio Brown, who was confined to a season-low 3-5 yards receiving on five catches.

That came one week after the Raiders held Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill to one catch for 13 yards.

Contrary to the Steelers, Conley also tipped a pass that resulted in an acrobatic interception by linebacker Tahir Whitehead. Conley led the Raiders with 2 passes defensed, though he did lose leverage over the play.

The talent was always there? Why and how Conley has been a first-round draft pick, This & rsquo; s. Accompanying and confidence relaxation? Those were the questions to the Raiders&rsquo cornerback.

Until today. Conley is ascending while solidifying Oakland’therefore secondary, making it, together with fellow cornerback Daryl Worley, less of an issue for coach Jon Gruden going forward than it’s been in years — and less of a priority when it comes to prep for the NFL draft.

“Being fit has made a large difference, and going out there knowing my team mates have my spine,” Conley said after putting on his clinic at the Raiders’ 24-21 mad of the Steelers. “I’d say this could be the greatest I’t sensed. ”

It is showing.

“rsquo & He;s convinced today,&rdquo. “He missed a lot of training camp. He had been hurt. Missed the majority of this past season. I believe his preparation was improved. I believe he’s managed to clinic.

“Our secondary coach [Derrick Ansley] has helped him may play a role within this. The guy is so talented, and he’s gaining confidence each week. He sees himself covering the guys in football each week, and then he ’s with some success. He’s doing and then he ’s getting. ”

Entering Sunday’s game, Conley ranked second in the NFL on Guru Football Emphasis ’ play maker Index, with a 24.3 percentage speed of targeted passes defensed or intercepted.

That really is exactly what Oakland was longing for if it hailed Conley 24th out of Ohio State. But after suffering a groin injury a bothersome shin injury limited him .

Hence Gruden referring to ldquo, Conley a &;rookie” that particular season.

It had been this season that a hip was tweaked by Conley and became a bystander for the majority of the exhibition season.

But with just two interceptions, he is tied for the team lead with safeties Marcus Gilchrist along with Reggie Nelson, whose season came to an end a week with a day at injured book. In reality, the ball was steered by Conley to Gilchrist for a number of his selections.

“I always believe as I’t done a solid work, but that I can often be better,”” Conley explained. “They put me to pay for, and I just rely on my own technique. ”

That’s music for turning Conley to a cornerback to the ears of Hayes, who credited the work of Ansley.

“I shared a secret with coach Ansley in [training camp], the secret that turned me by a linebacker to a large part,”” Hayes said. ”

Hayes was speaking to an all organic right-wing participant using the exact same flexibility, mobility and dexterity after shifting to his non-dominant side midstride.

“” I could go left with a turbo-burst,” Hayes said. “And at it the bump-and-run ’s roughly turning your left trendy quick. Gotta go and proceed cheetah-quick.

“[Conley] bumps well, along with his technique is equally strong, based upon who’s teaching him, and coach Ansley is performing this. You&rsquo. You need burst, and you must trust that your own technique. ”

Conley is taking to the lessons, from his position coach in Ansley and one of the hottest and successful Raiders in franchise history from Hayes.

“I just told him, ‘You & ’t got to trust . Trust your technique and work on your left side, then your left push, your left shiver, your left shoulder. You must brand your medulla through training. Of course, if you get beat, turn the page. You are able to &rsquo. ’

“That boy could play. ”

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