Gallery slowly shedding bust label

By Brad Wilbricht  |   Tuesday, May 26, 2009  |  Comments( 24 )

Oakland Raiders
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Robert Gallery has been much maligned since his arrival in Oakland as the second overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, but he’s resurrected his career because of a move to left guard. At just 28 years old, Gallery has plenty of time left to justify his high selection, though he’ll need some stability from the Raiders’ organization.

Coming out the University of Iowa, Gallery was the supposed can’t-miss prospect of his draft. He graded out as one of the safest picks available and was expected to be a dominant fixture at tackle for years to come. However, that hasn’t materialized thanks to stunted progress and constant change among the Oakland coaching staff.

Many are quick to label Gallery as a career disappointment, but that’s an unjustified claim when you consider his entire body of work. Gallery struggled mightily at left tackle, granted, but other than a dismal 2006 campaign, he’s been a consistent contributor in the trenches.

During his first two seasons in the NFL, Gallery was a rock at right tackle, starting 31 of 32 games during that span. He allowed only three sacks during his rookie season and gave up just 3.5 sacks in his second year. Following what looked to be a solid foundation, Oakland moved Gallery to left tackle.

2006 was a troubling year for Gallery, who allowed 10.5 sacks while playing in only 10 games. Despite missing six contests, he was fourth in the league in sacks allowed. After a failed attempt as a left tackle, the Raiders quickly moved Gallery to the interior. Gallery landed at left guard and his performance has been steadily improving.

With Oakland expected to emphasize the running game this year, Gallery will be a key ingredient toward the team’s success. Interior linemen have become increasingly valuable around the league in recent years, and while tackle is still considered the more vital of the two positions, guards around the league are closing the gap.

In the future, there’s a chance Gallery could shift back to the perimeter if needed. However, the Raiders signed tackle Khalif Barnes and may feel Gallery’s most significant contributions will come at guard. Given Oakland’s excellent stable of running backs and Gallery’s run blocking ability, it could end up being a perfect match in the Bay Area.
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About Brad Wilbricht

Brad Wilbricht covers numerous sporting events including the NFL, NFL Draft and college football. His analysis is simulcast through several media outlets across the country. Additionally, Brad is a regular guest on a variety of talk radio shows and can be frequently heard on the airwaves. To...
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CommentsComments: 24  |  Sign Up  View all comments
neil b
06:11 AM
Gallery was not drafted with the 2nd pick to play guard.He was drafted to be the left tackle of the Oakland Raiders for the next...
neil b
06:41 AM
Maybe I'm being harsh.Checked up on the other 2 Olinemen drafted in the first round,Shawn Andrews 16th pick to Philly and Vernon...
07:50 AM
I don't think you are being too harsh at all Neil B. This is not a knock on Gallery, because he's the hardest working guy there...
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