<
>

Gallery safest pick in draft?

4/8/2004

Here is how ESPN.com rates the top 10 offensive lineman prospects in the draft:

  • OT Robert Gallery (Iowa)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-7 1/8, 323 pounds, 4.99 in the 40, and 24 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: Went final 36 games of college career without permitting a sack. As freshman tight end, caught three passes for 52 yards before moving to tackle. Regularly graded out at 90 percent-plus in assignment completion. Named the Outland Trophy winner in 2003 and was the Big 10 offensive lineman of the year.
    Upside: Terrific long frame, could probably add another 10-15 pounds, and no one would notice. Long arms, delivers a strong punch-out block in pass protection, locks out and then redirects the rusher. Sinks his hips well, a good knee bender, very flexible. Can seal the outside. Slides well laterally and can mirror the pass rusher. Competitive, strong natural leader, high character.
    Downside: Not quite as explosive off the ball, or dominating in the run game, as some would have you believe. Occasionally plays with almost too much control and seems dispassionate at times. Needs to be reminded about playing too tall. Could use a little more upper body strength.
    The dish: He isn't in a league yet with Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace or Walter Jones, but Gallery is generally regarded as the safest pick in the entire draft. Could go as early as the second overall pick and almost certainly will be among top four choices.

  • OG Justin Smiley (Alabama)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-3¼, 299 pounds, 4.99 in the 40, and 23 "reps" on the bench press.
    Numbers game: Three-year starter and twice won school's coveted Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award. Graded out at over 80 percent in assignment success for his career. Had over 450 "knockdown" blocks for career.
    Upside: Technically sound in just about everything he does. Moves really well and can get downfield on screens and block at the second level. Plays with a nice base, rarely off his feet, and shows good recovery skills. Will demonstrate a nasty streak. Very aware player with a good, natural feel for the game and for playing angles and leverage. Comes off the ball hard.
    Downside: Turns outside but sometimes gives up the inside a little too easily. Will get back on his heels occasionally and knocked off balance. Looks bigger than he is, and might have to add some upper-body size. Not the classic inside "anchor" guard.
    The dish: Because he is a guard, probably won't be taken as high as his overall rank among linemen, but many scouts feel he is second-best overall line prospect. Could sneak into the latter part of the first round. Those who feel he can play some tackle in a pinch probably are reaching a little.

  • OG/OT Vernon Carey (Miami)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-4, 3/8, 325 pounds, 5.34 in the 40, and 30 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: More than 60 percent of Hurricanes' running plays directed to his side in last two years. Over that period, led team in "key blocks," as graded by coaches.
    Upside: Girthy guy, hard to get around him, because he's just so big all over. Naturally strong and, when he is playing with leverage and paying attention to technique, has the ability to dominate inside. Sustains his blocks in the running game and against the inside pass rush. Strong hands, can deliver a powerful initial jolt, and "stone" opponents.
    Downside: Just because he's so big doesn't mean his musculature is very well defined, and he needs to work on general conditioning. Looks too soft and will fall into habit of trying to finesse defenders. Has played tackle, although doesn't appear to have those kinds of skills for the next level, and still reacts like he is lined up outside sometimes. Will overextend and whiff on blocks.
    The dish: There are a few teams that still project him as a strong-side tackle, but the consensus seems to be that his best position is guard. Will need to control weight and add a bit more dedication to be solid NFL player. Could squeeze into the first round.

  • OT Shawn Andrews (Arkansas)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-4 1/8, 347 pounds, 5.52 in the 40, and 27 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: Finalist for both the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in 2003. Won the Jacobs award, as best offensive lineman in the conference, in 2003. Just over 70 percent of Arkansas' rushing yards in last two seasons came to his side. One of only six players in school history to earn consecutive All-American honors. Actually played some fullback in short-yardage situations and scored two touchdowns.
    Upside: Massive, thick player, flat-out dominant run blocker at point of attack when he gets his juices going. Explodes off the ball and quickly, gets his hands inside on defenders and stymies their charge. Strong enough to turn defenders. Long arms, more athletic than people think, given his size.
    Downside: Hide the food when he gets anywhere near the kitchen. Has ballooned up to more than 400 pounds in the past, and got really big early this offseason, because he left school and had no one to babysit him. Skipped out on the Razorbacks before their bowl game, claiming doctors advised him not to play, citing polyps in his nasal passage. For all his power, not naturally strong in the hands, and doesn't strike a jolting blow when he punches out in pass protection. Overextends at times and simply misses some blocks.
    The dish: Looks like a prototype right tackle and probably will be drafted in first round. Very candid about his weight problems. If he can stay in the 340-range, could really grow into a special player as he matures.

  • C Jake Grove (Virginia Tech)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-3 3/8, 303 pounds, 5.19 in the 40, and 31 "reps" on the bench press.
    Numbers game: One of just three players in Hokies history to earn consensus All-American honors. Three-year starter, including two seasons at guard, and graded out as team's best blocker two straight years. Actually graded a remarkable 90 percent as a junior. Won the Rimington Trophy as the country's premier center.
    Upside: Hard worker, a self-made and self-motivated blocker who doesn't have to be pointed to the weight room, plays every snap tough and will play hurt. Really strong in the upper body, uses his hands well enough, can turn defenders and steer them. Nice size for the position, could probably handle another 10-12 pounds pretty easily. Very smart, aware player, makes all the line-adjustment calls. Plays with a mean streak.
    Downside: Not a great athlete and, while he gets out on defenders quickly, really isn't the kind of guy you expect to see blocking at the second level. Hits well enough on the move, but sometimes footwork is off, and probably not nifty enough yet to use on traps. Needs to get better playing in space.
    The dish: Just a big ol' farm boy (and, trust us, he won't take any offense to that) who loves to play. Great character. Centers don't typically get drafted in the first round, but he definitely has a shot.

  • OT Jacob Rogers (Southern California)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-6 1/8, 307 pounds, 5.28 in the 40, and 23 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: Former high school tight end. Three-year starter at left tackle. Named to the all-conference team each of last two years, didn't surrender a sack in that period.
    Upside: Fundamentally sound, can slide and mirror to stay in front of defenders, has long arms and will lock out on people. Seems to have a natural feel for playing the angles and has demonstrated good change of direction and recovery skills. Tall, angular frame, very agile and athletic for his size. Usually has a decent base and stays on his feet.
    Downside: Balance isn't quite what it should be. His initial quickness is blunted by lack of explosion. Doesn't play tough and prefers to lean into people rather than drive through them. Slides off defenders too easily, won't consistently sustain blocks, seems lazy. Has some past knee and shoulder injuries that are a concern.
    The dish: Because there is such a dearth of left tackles in this draft, he might be nudged up a bit, but looks like a second-round pick.

  • OT Nat Dorsey (Georgia Tech)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-7, 322 pounds, 5.41 in the 40, and 25 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: Despite back problems, started three seasons at left tackle and twice was named to the All-ACC team. Permitted just four sacks in career. In head-to-head matchup with Julius Peppers, held the Carolina Panthers defensive end to two tackles. Had nearly 200 "pancake" blocks in three seasons.
    Upside: Great size and long arms, when he gets into a pass rusher and locks out, he can steer and redirect. Adjusts well and has above average change of direction skills. Usually plays with a good base, has a nice, natural pass-block setup and rarely is back on heels.
    Downside: Weight has always been an issue and merits close monitoring. Had shoulder injuries in the past, which he gutted his way through, but teams need to closely scrutinize those. Not particularly explosive. Will allow his techniques to slide. Concentration wanes and he gets called for a lot of penalties, especially false starts.
    The dish: Still immature and could have used his final season of eligibility to smooth out some of the rough spots. Certainly has the tools, if motivated, and fact he played left side will help him. Should be chosen in second round.

  • OG Chris Snee (Boston College)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-2¾, 314 pounds, 5.07 in the 40, and 29 "reps" on the bench press.
    Numbers game: Moved into lineup in second half of freshman year and became 3½-year starter. Consistently graded near 80 percent in completing assignments and led Eagles in "big-play blocks" last two years.
    Upside: Superb drive blocker, explodes out of stance, gets quickly into a defender's body. Delivers a forceful first strike, comes out of stance with leverage and momentum, and strikes a textbook rising blow. Good athlete with excellent quickness. Good enough feet to make the long trap and get downfield to the second level on screens. Hard worker and a solid leader.
    Downside: Needs some work on pass-blocking. Tends to be overaggressive and reach and not very smooth in his protection setup. Will get a little too high sometimes and that robs him of his natural leverage.
    The dish: Solid second-round prospect. Can also play center and that will help him. Should be a starter by his second season.

  • OG Sean Locklear (North Carolina State)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-4, 308 pounds, 5.17 in the 40, and 27 "reps" on the bench press.
    Numbers game: A defensive lineman for first season and part of second year, totaled 68 tackles, five sacks and 14 quarterback pressures. Moved to offense second half of his sophomore year and played virtually every snap for 2½ seasons.
    Upside: Nice combination of athleticism and strength. Has demonstrated versatility, and the willingness to do new things to help the team, during his career. When he's on his game, shows good explosion, and good enough technique. Thick body, especially down through the hips and thighs.
    Downside: Tends to be a waist-bender and loses power. Gets lazy in technique and will fall off some blocks. For all his strength, doesn't anchor very well, and some feel that he lacks the kind of nastiness scouts like to see. Not decisive against the blitz.
    The dish: Will go off the board in the second round but still needs some work, and someone to kick him in the butt, so he can fulfill his potential.

  • OT Kelly Butler (Purdue)
    Vital statistics: 6-feet-7 3/8, 320 pounds, 5.11 in the 40, and 19 "reps" on bench press.
    Numbers game: Started 38 straight games over final three seasons in college, and finished his career with an assignment grade above 80 percent. Concluded career with 26 straight games in which he did not permit a sack.
    Upside: A late bloomer but has really come on in last few months. Wide hips and long arms, a huge frame, and tough to get around him. Has strong hands and can lock out on a pass rusher. Slides nicely to pick up rushers. Better feet than originally believed.
    Downside: Still developing in lots of areas and probably won't be able to contribute for a year or two. Doesn't have much long speed and footwork is going to need refinement. For as big as he is, lacks functional strength, and has to get tougher.
    The dish: An intriguing guy who has improved markedly. Likely to be chosen in the bottom half of the second round.

    Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.