Draft outlook: Offensive line

This is one story in a series of position outlooks as they pertain to the Oakland Raiders and the 2005 NFL draft. Today, we look at offensive line:

What the Raiders have: The Oakland Raiders have managed to do something that is difficult for most any team – have an offensive line that does not have any pressing needs. When the Raiders used the second overall pick in the draft on tackle Robert Gallery, it was generally assumed that he and Langston Walker would man the tackle spots with Barry Sims moving inside to guard.

Instead, Sims won the left tackle job, where Oakland tabbed Gallery, who then started 15 games at right tackle. Oakland finished the season with Brad Badger and Jake Grove as the guards with Adam Treu at center.

The Raiders restructured Sims' contract and resigned guard Ron Stone about a week after releasing him. Stone signed as a free agent last offseason but injuries sidelined him for 11 games.

What the Raiders might do: The line does not have any serious questions but there could be some minor changes. Gallery and Walker could eventually be the tackle tandem with Sims sliding inside to guard and Grove, who was a second round pick, moving to his natural position of center.

It's too early to say that Gallery s the next Anthony Munoz but he is certainly on his way to being a dominant force. Grove did a solid job at guard but since he's a center by trade, the Raiders might move him there sooner rather than later even though Adam Treu, who is an outstanding longsnapper, has always performed capably at center. Plus, why draft Grove in the second round as a center if you're not serious about him playing there?

Guard is about the only position on the line that's remotely a need, especially of Grove moves to center full time. In a best case scenario, Badger is a capable backup but the Raiders could certainly do worse for options at guard. Resigning Stone was somewhat of a puzzling move since he missed 11 games to injury. The Raiders are taking a big gamble that he can stay injury free.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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