Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, who was projected as a first-round draft prospect by many pundits before he was accused of rape by a woman earlier this month, might still be selected by a team in this week’s NFL draft.
Three NFL general managers predict Conley will be selected Friday during the third round, sources informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. NFL teams have been in contact with Conley’s attorney, who has witness statements and video evidence related to the ongoing investigation, Rapoport added.
In a statement released Wednesday, Conley said the rape accusation against him is “completely false” and that he “did not commit a crime.” He is being investigated by Cleveland police after a woman accused him of raping her at a downtown Cleveland hotel on April 9.
Conley, 21, has not been charged or arrested in connection to the alleged incident, according to Cleveland Police Dept. spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia. No warrant has been issued and the department’s sex crimes and child abuse units are investigating, Ciaccia added.
Conley has not been interviewed yet by police. Investigators have reached out to him and are in the process of scheduling an interview with him, Ciaccia said.
Speaking at the NFL Play 60 event in Philadelphia on Thursday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked how the league will handle the situation.
“We obviously will look into that,” Goodell said. “The teams are looking into that. It’s a serious allegation and must be treated seriously. Those are things we obviously want our players to avoid. We have programs in place but let’s see how the facts come out.”
Conley will not attend the NFL draft, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.