Quiet as kept the Raiders unearthed a franchise caliber left tackle in Jared Vedlheer back in the third round of 2010 draft. The 6’8” sleeper from DIII Hillsdale College overcame an awkward transition to the pros as Tom Cable attempted to convert the lifelong tackle into a center.
Luckily for the Raiders Mario Henderson played poorly enough that the coaches were left with almost no choice but to give Veldheer the opportunity to play left tackle. He hasn’t played anywhere else since and the Raiders finally have the man in Veldheer that they hoped to get in Robert Gallery.
In his two seasons in Oakland Veldheer has shown progress in almost every game he’s played. Despite his huge frame Veldheer struggled when blocking stronger defenders as a rookie. So he took it upon himself to increase his strength during the lockout ruined offseason in 2011 and the results showed on the field.
Going forward all that remains is for Veldheer to get even more consistent than he already is. That is the quality that makes good pros great.
Of course the greatest quality of all Veldheer possesses is durability, a trait that is highly valued among offensive linemen. He has yet to miss a game in two seasons and rarely misses snaps during those games.
While he might not yet have the notoriety Veldheer’s star is definitely on the rise. Another year of solid play combined with a career year from Darren McFadden will bring plenty of attention of Veldheer and the rest of the Raiders’ line. I’d be willing to bet that we’re only a year or two away from seeing Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski representing the silver and black in Hawaii.