The New England Patriots only selected one receiver in this year’s draft, and it came in the seventh round. However Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon has a lot of potential, and he may able to help out the Pats in 2014. And thanks to FanSided’s Michigan site, we have a terrific in-depth analysis of Gallon as a player, and a person. Here is their breakdown of Gallon, and make sure to check out their site as well.
By GBMWolverine Staff
First, character does count, and following that basic underlying assumption it becomes easy to label Jeremy as a high character guy. He has very good perception, on and off the field; he will not take long to figure out what the coaching staff and organization demands to be a representative of the New England Patriots.
Jeremy came to Michigan from Apopka, Florida, a tough area. During his high school career, a few of Apopka’s games were on national television. The article’s author can say that he thoroughly enjoyed watching Jeremy play. He played about everything from wildcat to wideout, including kick returner and featured running back. Jeremy played with toughness and may as well had a sign hanging on him that stated, “I love to play football.”
Jeremy was a known quantity, but was not really a “big star” draw on the recruiting sites that tend to dramatize the rise and fall of star ratings. Jeremy was a high three-star or low four-star running back.
He came to Michigan in part because of the tremendous academic support program Michigan athletics provides; truly it is a program that defines the very best of any such effort. Academics at Michigan are challenging and Jeremy frequently stated he was a student first and a player second. He became the first in his family to receive a university degree. Again, such a venture is the way Jeremy views the world; he can understand and link the tenets that define success.
Jeremy’s program height is 5’ 8” and his weight is stated at 185 or so pounds. If Patriot fans were to see Jeremy outside at a practice in street clothes, the guess here is that unless he was known by recognition few would conclude he was a college star attempting to make an NFL roster. Jeremy has a scholarly look about him and he is, make no mistake, indeed small. But smart and tough and talented has overcome that long-lasting moniker.
But not to worry Patriot fans, the one overriding descriptor GBMWolverine has long used to best describe Gallon is that he simply is a football player. He may not wow the viewer, but eventually a comment such as “That little guy can play” comes forth. Jeremy is not Percy Harvin; he is not nearly as fast, but he is just as versatile. A “poor man’s Harvin” is not at all a bad summative description of young Jeremy.
Now the discussion turns to Coach Belichick’s pet character trait: work ethic. Here Jeremy Gallon shines. He will need physical training, he will need mental preparation, he will need practice, and he will need familiarity. But Jeremy will never need to be motivated. Neither has he had the easy road, nor has he chosen to seek one. Jeremy chose Michigan knowing the academic road would be more difficult than the typical athlete’s route. He is thrilled to be getting a chance to make the Patriot roster. There may be the typical nervousness and mistakes a low round choice exhibits in practice, but there will be no fear or nagging doubts eating up confidence.
Jeremy Gallon started off a little slow in his college development and in his first two years had only some on the field success. He was nowhere near stardom. But here is a guy that gets better and better every single day. He simply understands the mechanisms for success: hard work and improvement of skills through practice and game preparation. In his junior season Gallon caught 49 passes for well over 800 yards. This met the expectation of being a standard college receiver. Of note is that during all four years, Gallon averaged around 15 yards per catch.
The Michigan passing game was then very shaky with a common discussion being who will play receiver. Michigan had to take its second best athlete, Devin Gardner and make him a wide receiver. Gallon was in the conversation, but his emergence was not a given to the overall fan base. GBMWolverine posited the view that Gallon would continue to grow and eventually would be at the very least a standard receiver. He did so in each of his four seasons.
One overriding question the last two years was whether Jeremy would play on the edge or in the slot. Gallon seems to be a natural fit in the slot, but at Michigan, he demonstrated the ability to play both positions. His height appears to be a natural impediment to playing on the edge, but Jeremy persevered. Height did not prevent Gallon from making several big catches up and over taller defenders his last two years at Michigan.
Jeremy Gallon will not be the fastest or biggest player on the field. He can make good moves, gets immediate focus on the ball, is pretty reliable from a consistency standpoint, and usually finds a way to make the big play. His yards after catch are not monstrous, but if a defender makes a bad choice, Gallon can pile up some extra real estate.
Gallon’s senior year started with him once again being a question mark. Could he be the main man, and could he pile up enough big plays to make a difference? Statistically, or by any other measurement, the answer became a resounding yes. His hard play yielded big numbers: eighty-nine catches for almost 1400 yards and nine touchdowns. He broke some of Braylon Edward’s receiving records. But an accomplishment that cannot be empirically measured was the honor of wearing the number 21 as part of the Legends’ Program. Jeremy tells the story of Coach Hoke calling him in and informing him that Desmond Howard would be honored if Jeremy wore the number 21. He honored the former Heisman winner with a great season.
Coach Bill Belichick loves players that produce. Of all the seventh round picks probably none had the college production of Jeremy Gallon. He is very sound in football skills.
The secret for him will be to get off to a fast start and show the ability to be versatile and absorb numerous team functions. One note of interest is Gallon as a kick returner. He is not lightning and had problems his early years holding on to the ball. But his last two years showed better ball maintenance and at least a few yards. Michigan’s punt blocking was very mediocre, so maybe Jeremy can give a little help in that department to New England some day in the future. But if he is used as a returner it will be because of the ability to hold on to the ball, not as a threat to take it to the house.
There were rumblings in the world of Wolverines months ago that Gallon could easily end up with the Patriots. It is a good fit; he knows this and will give it his all to make the team. To many, Jeremy Gallon is an all-time favorite Wolverine and everyone is rooting hard for him to play in the NFL. Biased or not, the belief is that the Patriots drafted well to get Gallon as their last pick.