Ranked as a 5-star recruit by 247 Sports coming out of South Panola in Batesville, MS, Tony Conner played a role similar to what Jabrill Peppers did at Michigan for the Ole Miss Rebels.
At Ole Miss, they call the hybrid linebacker/safety the ‘Husky‘ position. Tony Conner was entrusted with all of the responsibilities associated with this complex role and was incredibly productive his first two years on campus.
Conner is fearless on the football field, and his play showed improvement from his 2014 season to his 2015 season A big hitter who flies towards the ball, his versatility was essential for Ole Miss’ defense. In the games that I watched, I saw him lineup at; ILB, OLB, SS, CB, and Nickel. He trusts his eyes, displays high effort across the field, is not afraid to get amongst lineman and exhibited excellent ball skills when the opportunities arose.
Needs to improve his open-field tackling and his tackling technique in general, there are far too many missed tackles on tape. Conner flies to the football. However, there are times when he overruns the play and allows significant gains.
Conner’s ability to change direction and instincts are not great, and when he gets blocked, he stays blocked. His awareness in zone coverage needs work, and his pass-rush arsenal was limited to effort. Tends to try to go around blocks rather than try to hold his lane, giving runners vacant lanes to run through.
Was not the same after the major knee injury he suffered against Alabama in 2015, he did not look as explosive or as nimble upon his return to action.
Projection: Round 7-UDFA
Despite the fact that Conner was a versatile piece for the Rebels defense, he is best suited to being a strong safety in a zone scheme at the next level. It is possible that he could continue playing as a hybrid linebacker/safety in sub-packages. However, I do not think he is capable of doing everything he did in college in the NFL.