View Full Version : To draft a tackle early...

04-23-2007, 12:05 PM
Pretty good article in the chronic (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/fb/texansfront/4738554.html)today.

Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas has sensed doubt creeping into some people's minds.

Slated to be selected in the top three of the NFL draft, Thomas has studied the history. He knows tackles drafted high are supposed to be can't-miss picks, long-term fixtures for a franchise and perennial Pro Bowlers.

Yet because of the struggles of Robert Gallery, who was drafted No. 2 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2004, recent "can't misses" have been scrutinized. Gallery has bounced between guard and tackle. Right now, he is closer to losing his starting job than he is to reaching a Pro Bowl.

That's why Gallery's name kept popping up in Thomas' pre-draft interviews. It wasn't because their styles are comparable; it's because Thomas is entering the draft with the same buildup as Gallery.

Gallery was expected to be the next superstar tackle, ranking with Orlando Pace, Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden. Now, Thomas' name is being thrown around with the best. Yet he senses unease, which is why he defended Gallery and tried to distance himself at the same time.

"I think that Robert's situation with three different offensive line coaches in the first three years, that's a really hard situation for anybody, especially coming into the NFL," Thomas, 6-6 and 313 pounds, said at the scouting combine. "I'm not worried at all. I respect his game, and I really enjoyed watching him all through college, but I think I'm definitely a different kind of player (than Gallery).

"I'm a very technically sound offensive tackle. I have a great work ethic. I think I really study hard, study my opponent hard, and I think I'm a pretty athletic offensive lineman, too."

Thomas, Penn State's Levi Brown and Central Michigan's Joe Staley are first-round draft prospects hoping to become the perennial Pro Bowl tackle the NFL hasn't seen since 1997, when Pace was drafted No. 1 overall and Jones was selected at No. 6. Each has been to seven Pro Bowls in the past 10 years.....

5 days and counting.....