2015 NFL Draft: Five Biggest Busts in Raiders Draft History
3. Robert Gallery
Selected: No. 2 overall, 2004
Seasons played for the Raiders: 7
Games started for the Raiders: 91
So deciding who should make the list as the third-worst draft bust is tough. Darrius Hayward-Bey was a strong candidate, as were Philip Buchanan and Fabian Washington. But if a bust is a player who fell short of high expectations, then Robert Gallery is the only name that belongs on this list.
Hayward-Bey was always regarded as a head-scratching reach, while Buchanan and Washington were relatively late first-round picks who weren’t seen as potential superstars.
But Robert Gallery was widely seen as the cant-miss prospect of the 2004 NFL draft.
Only Eli Manning was taken ahead of him and when the Raiders made the selection, Al Davis was roundly praised for a smart, cant-miss pick who could defend the blind side of Raider quarterback Rich Gannon, who was coming off an injury that had sidelined him for nine games the previous season.
Gallery was a dominant college lineman out of the University of Iowa who had done nothing but impress scouts and evaluators throughout the pre-draft process. With his long-haired biker look, he looked like the perfect Raider.
But Robert Gallery simply could not live up to the lofty expectations the Raiders or NFL talent scouts and evaluators had for him.
In his first two seasons, as is common for young offensive tackles, he started at right tackle, where he allowed eight sacks in 31 starts, but struggled with his run blocking as part of some very lousy running offenses.
Prior to the 2006 season, he was moved to left tackle to be the starter there, protecting the blind side of Aaron Brooks and, later, Andrew Walter.
The Raiders gave up an astounding 72 sacks that season, including a game in which they gave up nine sacks to the San Diego Chargers. Gallery missed three games with injury that year and still was charged with giving up 11 sacks on the year.
Gallery struggled mightily with the top pass rushers he faced week in and week out, such as Shawne Merriman and Elvis Dumervil. In 2007, he was moved to offensive guard and was the Raiders starting left guard until the end of the 2010 season.
Gallery was a decent, if not good offensive guard, as he improved his run-blocking technique and worked hard to get better.
But despite showing great feet on tape and in drills, he never had the necessary technique or quickness to match up against the league’s better pass rushers from the left tackle spot.
He would spend 2011 with the Seahawks, but was then released, and retired after a short appearance in the Patriots’ training camp in 2012.
He certainly started a lot of games and played well for the Raiders at some points, but he was never that can’t-miss blindside protector he was supposed to be.