Jared Veldheer has quietly developed into a quality left tackle. Without all the hype that followed Robert Gallery, Veldheer’s journey from DIII football to collecting checks on Sundays is nothing short of amazing. While the Raiders did very well for themselves in unearthing and developing Veldheer they’ve found nothing but dead ends in the search for a legit right tackle.
Kahlif Barnes played very well last year, all things being considered. He played so well that the Raiders offered Barnes yet another one-year contract. In other words Reggie McKenzie is still in the market for a right tackle.
Entering his second season, Joe Barksdale will likely get a look during the preseason. After some mixed reviews as a rookie Barksdale will have to show serious improvement to move into the starting lineup.
With only a handful of late round picks the Raiders will have to do some digging to find another quality lineman in the Veldheer vein. Utah’s Tony Bergstrom isn’t the athlete Veldheer is but he’s been a solid starter for three years and he’s versatile enough to help improve any NFL team’s depth. Here is a quick analysis of this 3rd to 4th round prospect.
Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah
Strengths: Three year starter at right tackle. Good technique and very good in open space. Could play either tackle or guard at the next level. Might not become a legit starter but will be a solid rotational player. Did not allow a sack all season in 2011 which is impressive considering it was Utah’s first year of PAC-12 play.
Weaknesses: Recovering from knee surgery so health is a concern. An older prospect due to two-year religious mission prior to enrollment at Utah. Has good strength but doesn’t have much of a mean streak you’d like to see in NFL tackles. Might not have much potential for improvement.