Tenth in a series reviewing Raiders’ draft classes since they returned to Oakland in 1995:
1/2_Robert Gallery, T, Iowa
2/45_Jake Grove, C, Virignia Tech
3/67_Stuart Schweigert, S, Purdue
4/99_Carlos Francis, WR, Iowa
5/134_Johnnie Morant, WR, Syracuse
6/166_Shawn Johnson, DE, Delaware
6/182_CodySpencer, LB, North Texas
7/245_Courtney Anderson, TE, San Jose State
7/255_Andre Sommersell, LB, Colroado State
The top pick_Gallery was considered the safest pick in the draft and was being mentioned in the same breath as stalwart left tackles Tony Boselli, Orlando Pace and Jonathan Ogden. Lost in the difficulties of the past two seasons was a pretty fair rookie season as a right tackle, particularly as a pass blocker.
In Year 2, the Raiders switched from Aaron Kromer to Jim Colletto as line coach and Gallery seemed to regress, finishing the season with a broken leg. Under the trio of Art Shell, Irv Eatman and Jackie Slater, Gallery was abused in Week 1 by Shawne Merriman and never really recovered. He had a lingering groin injury as well as a dislocated elbow.
In 2007, Tom Cable will bring a zone, cut-blocking scheme and give Gallery yet another coach. The Raiders are optimistic that the style will suit Gallery, who is an angular 6-foot-7 and more agile than powerful. Another year like 2006 and he could be classified as a bust of Mandarich proportions.
Could have had_Receivers Larry Fitzgerald (No. 3 to Arizona) and Roy Williams (No. 7 to Detroit) were both available and would haven not only eased the transition from Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, but made the later deal for Randy Moss unnecessary.
The nasty center_Second-round center Grove’s past has been similar to Gallery. Cable and Co. will need to work the same magic with Grove they hope to work with Gallery.
Can’t catch on_Morant has been a pre-season wonder who vanishes in the regular season. He never gained the trust of either Turner or Shell in terms of knowledge of the offense and assignements. Francis, world class sprinter, simply can’t stay healthy and has remained on Al Davis scholarship because of his speed.
Draft bargains_Anderson has produced more than one would expect for a seventh round choice, although he hasn’t taken the extra step to become a consistent, dependable player. He will have to compete for a position on the Kiffin Raiders, but still has the best size and skill combination of any tight end on the roster.