Antonio Gates – 2003 Draft Day Picks
Antonio Gates was born June 18, 1980 in Detroit Michigan. Ever since Gates was a young child it was obvious that he was going to be a great athlete in one sport or another. Standing at 6 foot 4 inches and weighing 260 pounds, he has all of the physical skills that a top notch NFL tight end could need. When you add this to the mental aspect of his game, it is no wonder why many people consider him to be the best tight end in the game.
Gates is a bit different than the rest of the players that you see in the NFL. Before his rookie season in the league, he had not played in an organized football game since high school. Gates decided that he wanted to go to Michigan State University to play both basketball and football, but when he was told by then Coach Nick Saban that he could only play football he decided to transfer. Subsequently, this led him to Eastern Michigan University then two junior colleges until he finally settled down at Kent State University in Ohio.
After his college basketball career was over, NBA scouts felt that at 6’4” he was not big enough to make it in the league. In turn, he began to focus his energy on getting ready for the NFL. Nearly 20 teams attended his workout, and the San Diego Chargers were so impressed that they signed him to a contract.
After a slow rookie season in 2004, Gates quickly became an offensive threat. Throughout the next three seasons combined he caught 241 passes for 2,989 yards and 32 touchdowns. This was good enough to land him in the Pro Bowl each of these three years, and also establish himself as a top offensive threat. For a guy that did not play college football, Gates is doing just fine in the NFL.