It didn’t take long for Texas Tech offensive lineman Deveric Gallington to earn his first free-agent offer after completion of the NFL Draft late Saturday afternoon.
“About 20 minutes,” Gallington said of accepting an offer from the Oakland Raiders. “They called me and told me they wanted me to be a part of the organization. I’m excited. I know I’ll have the opportunity to go in there and make the roster so I jumped on it and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Gallington, Tech’s 6-foot-3, 321-pound senior center, was one of three Red Raiders to earn free-agent contract after none were selected in the draft’s seven rounds.
Cody Davis, a 6-2, 203 safety who had drawn interest from teams with solid performances during pro days and regional combines, confirmed he has signed a deal with the St. Louis Rams. Quarterback Seth Doege, a 6-1, 205 senior, said he has signed a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle signed with Detroit.
“The opportunity I have with (Atlanta) was the main reason I signed with them,” Doege said. “But a big factor was I still get to wear red and black.”
Gallington said Oakland was one of several teams that showed interest in him, with Jacksonville being a close second. He also said Detroit, Houston, Miami and Carolina had inquired with either him or his agent.
“Detroit was interested toward the end,” said Gallington, who moved to center this past season after playing two years at guard. “Detroit actually emailed my agent (Saturday) morning and called me on Monday and said they had five picks and if it worked out, it worked out.”
Ultimately, however, it was the Raiders who won Gallington’s services. Oakland drafted just one offensive lineman, tackle Menelik Watson from Florida State. The only center listed on the Raiders’ roster is Stefan Wisniewski, a third-year center/guard combination out of Penn State.
“I’m guessing I’ll go in there and try at either guard or center, wherever they might need me right away,” said Gallington, who anchored a line that averaged 495.8 yards per game. “I’m down to do whatever helps the team win games. I’m going in there with an open mind and will do anything I can to help.”
Doege, a two-year starter for the Red Raiders, threw for 4,205 yards and 39 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions last season in leading Tech to a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston.
He threw for 4,004 yards as a junior, and holds the Nos. 8 and 9 marks on Tech’s single-season passing yards list. His 39 touchdowns last year ranks fifth all-time among Red Raider single-season marks.
Doege said he also drew interest from Cleveland, Tampa Bay and St. Louis, but the fact the Falcons had been there from the start made signing with them easy.
“(Atlanta) called me before the draft and had shown a lot of interest,” said Doege, the Frenship product. “Then they kept up with me through the draft. They wanted to draft me but when it came down to it they didn’t have enough spots. By the time they called and said they wanted me as a free agent, it just felt right because they’d shown so much interest in me. It was like being recruited to college.”
In Atlanta, Doege will battle former East Carolina standout Dominque Davis, a rookie last year, and seventh-round draft pick Sean Renfree from Duke for the backup role behind fifth-year starter Matt Ryan.
“That was my main goal that I wanted to get out of signing as a free agent was signing with a place where I could compete for a spot,” Doege said. “All the quarterbacks there are good quarterbacks, and then the chance to learn a little from Matt Ryan, one of the best in the league. It’s a great opportunity for me to go and showcase my skills and make the team better.”
Davis was a stalwart on defense for the Red Raiders, who allowed 367 yards per game. Davis led Tech in tackles (101, 17 solo) and interceptions (3) while also breaking up seven passes from his safety spot.
The Rams have just one veteran safety, third-year pro Darian Stewart, listed on the roster along with third-round draft pick T.J. McDonald out of Southern California and rookie free agents Matthew Daniels out of Duke and Rodney McLeod out of Virginia.
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