Patriots Could Catch Big Contribution From 5’7” Jeremy Gallon

Jeremy Gallon proved he could play bigger than his size in the Big Ten. The Patriots are hoping the wideout can do the same at the next level. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Jeremy Gallon is the smallest wide receiver the New England Patriots have drafted in the Bill Belichick era. But even at 5’7” and 185 pounds, the seventh-round draft pick by way of Michigan has been known to make a contribution far greater than his stature.

That’s been evident since his days at Apopka High School in central Florida, where he played quarterback, running back and safety.

Gallon was a three-year letterman who amassed 1,624 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, along 4,281 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns over his career with the Blue Darters. From there, he journeyed to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and then Ann Arbor, where he redshirted as a freshman in 2009.

That acclimation period saw Gallon transition to receiver and play in 12 games in the fall of 2010. As a slot target, he snared four passes for 49 yards and a score. As a return man, he tacked on 10 punt returns for 43 yards and 27 kick returns for 589 yards.

And by the time he was a redshirt sophomore in 2011, Gallon was an integral part of the Wolverines offense. His 31 receptions for 453 yards and three touchdowns ranked second on the team. But he also provided a versatile presence with three carries for 26 yards, three kick returns for 46 yards and 19 punt returns for 192 yards.

Gallon’s role grew as 2012 rolled around, even when his frame didn’t. He led the team in receiving with 49 passes for 829 yards and four TDs. He was a factor on reverses, taking 11 handoffs downfield for 67 yards. And on special teams, he netted 14 combined returns for 89 yards.

Gallon was a dynamic threat on a team transitioning from a spread-option to a pro-style offensive attack. His production illustrated that. Nonetheless, few foresaw the compact playmaker having the redshirt senior campaign that he did.

While he handled seven punts for 32 yards and three carries for four yards in 2013, it was his 89 receptions for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns that stood above the rest. He notched a Big Ten single-game record for receiving yards with 14 catches for 369 yards and two touchdowns versus Indiana on Oct. 19. And by the time his final college game was over, Gallon found himself second in the conference in receiving.

He also found himself the 10th Michigan receiver to cross the century mark in a season.

Soon after, Gallon was invited to the East-West Shrine Game this January and led the East side in receiving. He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine this February and clocked a 4.49-second 40-yard dash. He participated in Michigan’s pro day this March and stood out with a broad jump of 10 feet, 10 inches, along with a vertical leap of 39 1/2 inches.

Even so, Gallon still loomed under the NFL draft radar for reasons out of his control. As a 24-year-old receiver in the mold of a third-down back, the possibility that he would go undrafted remained a distinct one.

That changed at pick 244 overall.

It was then, in the afternoon hours of May 10, that Belichick and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio decided to take a flier on Gallon. His selection added an 11th name to a receiving corps already headlined by Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins.

That reality leaves the odds stacked against Gallon.

In many ways, however, that’s nothing new to him. Over his 50 contests with the Wolverines, Gallon found ways to overcome his natural deficiencies.

He did so by revealing the burst off the line, the precise routes to dip his hips and accelerate through breaks, the adlib adjustments to track the football, the toughness and strong hands to make catches through contact, and the low center of gravity to stay on his feet into the open field.

He may not be a track star. He may not be the most powerful runner, either. But his elusiveness and stability spinning out of would-be tackles can be equally effective.

That is, at least in part, why Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke had a hard time subbing him out of the huddle.

Gallon was trusted as a sole split end in loaded personnel for quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. In the every-down set, he carved a spot as a flanker. He created separation on double-move fades, post routes and dig routes under that capacity. But he was a go-to option on quick-outs and fire screens as well.

It was because his reliable hands, vision and suddenness allowed him to turn short plays into long ones. He reinforced those qualities by consistently setting his feet in position for the run after.

Regardless, it remains to be seen how those skills will translate at the next level, where heavy press-man coverage and long, agile cornerbacks await.

There are instances where Gallon gets disheveled by strong arm-jams into his chest, though he often makes up for it by finding the soft spot in shell coverage and eating up ground against off-man. There are instances where Gallon drops completions when he looks upfield before looking the ball in, yet he also reveals the instincts to work back to dive underneath throws. And there are instances where his 29 1/2-inch arms limit his catch radius, but there’s something to be said for the body control he flashes to reel in passes outside his area code.

As a result, he isn’t easily defined.

It’s fair to say Gallon isn’t an outside “X” receiver, but he carries some technical traits of one. His short-area quickness helps him play bigger than his size, and he will draw penalty flags because of it. He sells his inside moves and can box out corners as he leans back towards the boundary. He employs his athleticism to elevate above the rim for the ball.

Those features may very well make him a fit for New England.

He believes so.

“They’re known for having smaller guys,” Gallon said on his post-draft conference call. “They seem to just keep producing smaller guys that work in smaller spaces against big people. I just felt like it would be a good fit here as far myself and how I play and what I can bring and what they have for me to bring to the table.”

Gallon brings a lot to the table. He can make overhead or sideline receptions just as sufficiently as he can make over-the-middle ones. He can take handoffs. He can compete on special teams.

He can can do a lot of things that warrant a 53-man roster spot. And he has proven that the way in which he excels doesn’t hinge on height.

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23 Responses to “Patriots Could Catch Big Contribution From 5’7” Jeremy Gallon”

  1. steve earle says:

    I’m hoping Easley will be everything fans want him to be. As for the QB he will not contribute this year or next. After the 2nd we collected quite a bunch of talent and I hope they all come through big time but what are the chances of that? I’m guessing 2-3 make the roster another 3 the PS maybe a couple get picked off wavers? Have to wait and see.

  2. Jack says:

    Gallon looks like a great pickup. One guy I can’t wait to see is Roy Finch. He was way-underutilized at Texas for some reason, but he has ridiculous moves. If you want to see some jaw-dropping, now-you-see-him, now-you-don’e highlights, check out this video:

    • Stephen J says:

      Looks like the Pats have 3 nice RB’s in James White Stephen Houston and Roy Finch. Interesting to see how this plays out. Each year I see these highlight reels, or read about how productive they were in college and even with the Pats(Practice Squad awards on field production ie Sudfield and get excited only to then see them cut let go and wonder what happened.

      • Jack says:

        Agreed. But, there are highlight films, and then there are highlight films, and Finch is absolutely electric. Imagine if he can pull off those moves and jukes and jumps and spins in a real NFL game?

  3. Alex says:

    I do not think Amendola will be around after this year. Boyce, Dobson, Edelman, Lafell and Gallon. Nice WR for future.

    • steve earle says:

      Quite possibly though if DA gets injured early all bets are off. I could see BB giving up on him for the sake of a roster spot for a healthy player with upside. Wouldn’t help the cap any just make some room.

  4. Big W says:

    The pick should have been Craig Loston SS, or LB Jones from Florida State not another camp body.

    • steve earle says:

      Right Bill, I also liked Ahmad Dixon as well. Guess we have to wait to see how those in question stack up by the end of the year.

  5. Stephen J says:

    I like Gallon as a receiver especially since DA and JE spend alot of time rehabbing going to make 53 man roster choice a tough one. Not as high or impressed with Gallon in the ST’s aspect though other UDFA’s have better production in that department. Speaking of ST’s they keep saying that ST’s are a vital part of the game then they have to fit them on the 53 man roster as an offensive or defensive player if they are so important why don’t they have there own roster spots for ST’s as well. For the most part they already have punter kicker and long snapper why not just add a couple few more that being Gunner/Jammer and Punt/Kicker returner.

  6. MarcR33 says:

    Mark Harrison is 6’6″ not 6’3″ I hope he can make it on the 53 somehow

    • acm says:

      Unless Mark Harrison grew 3″ overnight, you are confusing him with Brandon Coleman.

  7. Russell says:

    Gallon could make the team as a kick-off guy, if he looks strong in preseason.

    • Ryan says:

      I may be in the minority when I say this, if there is an open spot its going to be Gallon v. Finch. Likely used sparingly and assets in the return game.

    • bmp1113 says:

      I could see edelman being taken off punt return if gallon plays good because edelman has a big role on offense.

  8. toby says:

    Let’s hope he’s not just the second coming of Greg “60 catches” Salas 🙂

    Sure looks interesting enough.

  9. J H TARBORO says:

    If you watch game tape or highlights and you believe what you see, Jeremy Gallon could be special for us in a way that Welker and Edelman aren’t , he a different type of slot receiver.
    Roster breakdown ( WRs )
    D.Amendola 5’9, J. Edelman 5’11 , J. Boyce 5’11, K. Thompkins 6’0
    R.Dunn 5’8, J. Gallon
    A.Dobson 6’2, B. Lafell 6’2, G. Orton 6’3, M. Harrison 6’3,

    • Ken W says:

      Think you are a little off on some of your heights.

      D.Amendola 5’11
      K. Thompkins 6’1
      A.Dobson 6’3

      • Jack Trudel says:

        Bill loves vertically challenged players. Think it has anything to do with his own height? I’ve already seen Houston listed anywhere from 6′ to 5’10” Remember all the talk that followed Doug Flutie around during his time in the league? There was hardly a mention he was taller than the majority of his wide receivers and corners.

        Like someone said elsewhere here, nobody’s going to grow three more inches. It’s hard to defend a 6’4″ receiver when he has an additional 5″or 6″ advantage in arm length, that is if he can jump and catch too, lol.

        I wonder if teams ever have their players’eyes tested for other than 20/20? Seriously. I go cross-eyed – whenever I look to the right, my left eye starts hunting squirrels in the trees and I get double vision. No problem looking left. I talked to an optometrist an it’s a common condition manifesting from several causes. In my case its weakness in an eye muscle. It makes me wonder if its the reason some of these players can only play from one side of the field. Dobson comes to mind.

        What we haven’t seen much of these days are the old impossible to defend Raymond Berry/Russ Francis foot-dragging stretch catches out over the sidelines. Last one I can remember was thrown by Eli to a receiver on the Giants. That one smarted.

      • MaineMan says:

        One of the two reasons I stick with the official weigh-in format (where 6025 = 6 feet, 2-and-5/8ths inches) is that it doesn’t rely on someone else’s often careless rounding result (or agenda-driven exaggeration). Official weigh-in heights/wgts – from the Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and other college all-star games, plus the Combine and pro days are conducted in public (more eyes to spot any egregious error) and are nearly always consistent to with 1/8th inch of each other, so certainly more reliable.

        The second reason I use that format is that it takes a lot less time to type 6025 than it does 6’2-and-5/8ths”.

        Official weights, of course, are an entirely different matter.

        That said, the official measurements for the Pats’ current crop of WRs are (tallest to shortest):

        Dobson —— 6030/210
        Harrison —– 6027/231 (1/8th under 6’3″)
        Greg Orton — 6025/207
        LaFell ——— 6024/211
        Thompkins — 6005/193
        Boyce ——— 5110/206
        Amendola —- 5104/183
        Edelman —— 5103/195
        Reggie Dunn – 5093/178 (4.22 40-time, BTW)
        Gallon ——— 5070/185
        (Finch ——— 5063/177)

        WRT the discussion elsewhere about Harrison possibly playing part of the “move-TE” role, here’s a comparison with a couple other current candidates on the roster:

        Tyler Ott —– 6027/253 (yes, the long-snapper who also played TE for Harvard)
        Harrison —– 6027/231, 4.37/40
        Tyler Beck — 6026/252, 4.81/40
        Asa Watson – 6023/239, 4.69/40

        • MaineMan says:

          Inadvertently left off the final comps:

          Hernandez — 6023/250, 4.64/40
          DJ Williams — 6021/245, 4.59/40

        • acm says:

          Tyler Beck was let go by the Pats. But yeah, Ott does bring position versatility with him and think that’d be his way of making the roster, considering TE is a position of need and the incumbent LS is making a pretty penny for someone in that role too.

          I’m particularly interested in seeing how DJ Williams looks after having a full preseason with the team. He was a highly regarded move-TE prospect when he came out of college. Maybe he can finally fulfill his potential.

  10. Josh says:

    I am very excited to see this guy play. He looks like he has a load of tools in his locker and enough will to overcome his lack of size. I think Kenbrell and Amendola are gonna have to be on top of their game at camp

  11. Trev says:

    Our WR battle in training camp will be very interesting. Assuming health (I know that is a pretty big assumption with Amendola, but let’s think positive…) I think Dobson, Edelman, Amendola, Boyce, LaFell, and Gallon will make the 53 Man Roster. I think Slater makes it too, as a specialist, but I hardly call him a WR. Terrific ST player, though. When Browner returns from suspension, or someone comes off the PUP list, it could force one of our WRs off the roster.

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