LaDainian Tomlinson is good, but this is asking Barry Sanders to run through those terrible holes he had. Pundits always said, "if only Barry had half the line Emmitt did" and the Bolts seem to be taking that same philosophy. Tomlinson is one of the top backs in the league, but even he has to be cringing at the prospects of a shortened life in the NFL.
It isn't very often that a dominant left tackle comes along that can anchor a line for ten plus years. History has proven that the safest pick in the top ten is an offensive lineman. Very few fall on their face. In fact, most are Pro Bowl caliber.
Robert Gallery is no exception. Playing at Iowa has only enhanced his status.
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 323
Bench: 24 (pro day reported 30)
Forty Time: 4.95
Ten Yard: 1.68
Vertical Jump: 30
Broad Jump: 8-6/8-9
Body Fat: 22.1%
|"One of the more versatile offensive tackles to enter the draft in a long while, Gallery is a terrific prospect that will offer immediate returns and long term potential. Should quickly come in and start as a left tackle for a franchise, yet could also grow into a dominant strong-side blocker. Will only get better as he physically matures and improves his skills as a run blocker. Deservedly a very high draft choice this April." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview|
"Many NFL scouts and personnel men believe that Iowa is one of the top 10 schools in the entire country as far as coaching talent that was not recruited as being upper echelon players," says one NFL scout.
Gallery signed on with the Hawkeyes as a 240-pound tight end from East Buchanan High School. Now he is a 6-7, 323 pound behemoth known as "the Mountain".
"Iowa's workout regiment is great, including Gallery this year," continued the scout. "That is a testament to just how good this Iowa program really is."
Gallery is similarly talented in all facets of the game. What separates this left tackle from any other is his athleticism for his size. He has great agility and uses that speed to his advantage – couple that with his above average hands and footwork and he will dominate in pass protection.
Playing at a school that has generally been a running team, he is equally as effective in run blocking. His best attribute is his burning desire – he simply attacks the opposition and does not stop until the whistle blows.
His performance through college came to a head when he won the 2003 Outland Trophy Award, which goes to the top interior lineman in college football. There are simply no major weaknesses in his game.
"To win the Outland is like winning the Heisman for a lineman," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I obviously think he is the best lineman in the country. It's an award he has earned."
AJ Smith, Marty Schottenheimer and Buddy Nix all met with Gallery the night before his workout in Iowa for two hours over dinner. It is one of the major benefits they have sitting with the top pick in the Draft. Barring a trade, they have the ability to select anyone they want.
"The night before the workouts, I went to dinner with representatives of (the Chargers)," Gallery said in an ESPN diary entry. "It was a surreal experience. I sat with a general manager, a legendary head coach, and a few other decision-making personnel. It was a very relaxed meeting. They asked me questions, I fired some back at them. They got to better know me, and I got to get a good feel of who they are and how they run their organization. It's amazing how much you can learn about people in just a few hours of conversation."
With the biggest hole on the Chargers at left tackle, Robert Gallery would seem to be a slam-dunk, wouldn't he?
There are no concerns about his character and less about how much he will help an organization, now and long into the future.
The NFL Draft is just a month away and can't come soon enough.
Denis Savage can be reached at email@example.com