Training camp outlook: Offensive tackle

One story in a series, looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training camp in Napa, CA. Today – a look at offensive tackles:

The Oakland Raiders figured to have then-rookie Robert Gallery and Langston Walker flanking the offensive tackle positions. Gallery and Walker enter the 2005 season as starters – just not at the same position. Walker, who enters his fourth season, is slated to be the starting right guard.

The Raiders selected Gallery with the second overall pick in the draft in 2004 with the idea of him unseating Barry Sims as the starting left tackle. Sims, however, had an outstanding training camp and held off Gallery for the starting job, subsequently starting all 16 games.

Gallery, who is a natural left tackle, became the starting right tackle in Week 2. The 6-7, 325-pound Gallery has the size, wingspan and quickness to handle most any defensive end. Gallery enjoyed an outstanding rookie season and figures to only get better. In fact, it's not beyond the realm of possibility for Gallery to become a Pro Bowler in his second year.

In one respect, it should not be that big of a surprise that Sims held off Gallery's challenge to unseat him. Keep in mind, the Raiders drafted Matt Stinchcomb in the first round in 1999 to be the Raiders starting left tackle. Stinchcomb, however, was an injury prone player, which makes Sims performance of last year even more impressive because he held off a legitimate challenger.

The Raiders drafted Pete McMahon in the seventh round with one of their two picks in that round. Unless something drastic happens, however, don't look for McMahon to be a serious factor.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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