The Oakland Raiders continue to fill needs in the draft. After addressing their run defense with their first two picks, the attention was turned to protecting the quarterback and making holes for the running game on offense.
With that said, the Raiders chose offensive tackle Jared Veldheer with the 69th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Veldheer, who played for the div II Hillsdale College Chargers in Hillsdale, Michigan, made his mark on draft boards when he was able to prove his value throughout the draft process. He played in the Texas vs the Nation game and held up well against Div I talent then went to the NFL Scouting Combine and posted top 10 stats in five of the posted results.
While the talk leading up to the draft was about Maryland’s Bruce Campbell as the workout warrior of the combine, Veldheer more than held his own as well. At the combine, Veldheer outdid Campbell in the vertical jump (33.5″), broad jump (9’1″), the shuttle (4.51s), and the cone (7.40s). He also had 32 rep’s in the bench press, showing that he above average strength for his position.
Measuring in at 6’9″ and 321 pounds, it’s safe to say that coupled with his combine stats, he’s the perfect Raiders’ height/weight/speed pick for the offensive line.
Due to his talent, Hillsdale College held their first ever pro day. He’s the highest drafted Div II player taken in the draft since 1999 and the first player drafted from Hillsdale College since Nate Johnson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980. Veldheer’s draft position also makes him the highest selected Hillsdale Charger drafted since placekicker Chester Marcol was taken in the second round of the 1972 draft by the Green Bay Packers.
“Jared is a fine young man and we are proud to have him representing Hillsdale in the NFL,” said Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn on their website. Also, according to the website, Veldheer is the first Raiders selection that has already met Al Davis. Apparently, he was flown out to Oakland ‘in the weeks leading up to the draft’ and met with the Raiders’ owner at that time.