NFL Network is actually talking about how good the Raiders draft has been so far…I don’t believe it! Their newest selection is Hillsdale College (Michigan) offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Veldheer is a 6’8” 312 pound tackle who garnered a lot of interest at the 2010 NFL combine with a 32 inch vertical, 32 bench press reps, and a 5.06 forty. Not bad for a Division II prospect with 44 career starts at Hillsdale College.
Jared is a good pick for Oakland who is keeping their heads on straight about not taking combine freak Bruce Campbell. Veldheer has a lot of potential to grow, can run, and he fits the Raiders zone blocking system.
Charles Davis thinks this draft has more influence than Al Davis. He said “Somebody in that war room looked around and said, ‘We gotta do some things right this year, and get this on the right track.’”
Veldheer didn’t start to think the NFL was a possibility until after his freshman season.
“Going through my first offseason workout at Hillsdale as far as the weight program and speed program, I just got a lot faster and a lot stronger and my game elevated a lot,” he said. “At that point I kind of figured that I had just as good of numbers as those guys that were about to play professionally, and I thought it was something I loved doing and it was very much a possibility down the road.”
Veldheer is regarded as on the best linemen in Division II. He was named 1st Team AFCA All-American, 1st Team AP Little All-American and Gene Upshaw finalist. Jared is a solid student with his 3.0 GPA in Biology major and recognized team leader in the weight room and on the field. His efforts led to Hillsdale’s first-ever play-off appearance and first play-off win in 2009.
He has impressive size and athletic ability for a left tackle with 10 1/8” hands and huge frame that reminds some scouts of Jonathan Ogden and will allow him to get even bigger. Veldheer has a good motor and plays to the whistle. Good footwork and blocking mechanics allow him to get to the defender quickly. He also demonstrates good flexibility for such a large body.
On the downside, he is considered to be an upright pass-blocker who will need to improve as he faces elite competition. Has been able to dominate on strength alone in D-2; may need some time to adjust to next-level defender’s speed. NFL Network said that he is not a player who will be ready to start at left tackle this season and will need some time to develop to be highly regarded at the next level.
–Bret Armstrong, TFDS Guest Contributor