There are few in the world that can understand what it's like to be a speedy wide receiver in the NFL. In the media? Even fewer, but when Joey Galloway, ESPN studio analyst, walked by me at some point, it hit me that no one would understand the challenges that face both Will Fuller and Braxton Miller heading into their respective rookie campaigns.
Let's rewind a bit. If you're a millennial, you may not remember Galloway, who starred at Ohio State in the early 1990s. He was the 8th pick for the Seattle Seahawks in the 1995 draft. He was 5-11, 193 lbs., and ran in the low 4.3s coming out of college.
Galloway finished his career with 701 receptions for 10,950 yards and 77 touchdowns, so the man understood more than most how to utilize his speed and make it a viable asset.
In other words, he knows, more than anyone you'll talk to or hear from in the near future, what Will Fuller must do to succeed.
"(Fuller) is going to have to get used to the different coverages he'll now see, the disguises, the physicality of the defensive backs he'll face. Will Fuller was a receiver I really enjoyed in college. I think he was, perhaps, the most underrated receiver coming out (in the draft).
"I thought it was a great pick for the Houston Texans."
Galloway is a firm believer that Fuller's speed, not just his catch production, can be such an asset for the Texans, much like it was for the teams that employed Galloway throughout his career.
"If you have a guy that can take the top off the defense and make the safety respect the speed behind them, that's one less guy that a quarterback has to worry about, it's one less guy that can support in the run game. So the speed guy outside is way more important than just catching the ball. It changes the way defense can play."
Consequently, a Buckeye's ties run deep and Galloway was impressed with Miller at Ohio State, but appreciates the work that Miller will have to do to become the player Galloway knows Miller can ultimately be.
"Braxton just has to continue to get comfortable with the position. It's not as easy of a transition as people make it sound. You don't just step out at receiver and know all of the ins and outs of it. He's a tremendous athlete, so we know he has the athletic tools to be a receiver, now he has to get comfortable learning routes, coverages, getting more comfortable with his quarterback and what he's seeing. Braxton Miller can be outstanding."
The transition from college star, athletic wide out to professional offensive pass catcher isn't an easy one. Galloway knows more than anyone.
"That's part of the learning curve for these young receivers. They're going to see coverages they've never even imagined before. So, now you're going to have to get used to what you're looking at, reading it and knowing where to go in these systems. It's just going to be a lot more. But, that's what they were able to get out of the offseason. That's what the work is for. That's what the meeting room is for and how you get it done."
We'll see soon how important that offseason was for the two rookie receivers when training camp kicks off in late July.
Ohio State WR Braxton Miller was the Texans' 3rd round (85th overall) pick.