View Full Version : Steelers should have drafted OT Jared Veldheer last year

01-03-2011, 02:10 PM
I selected Jared Veldheer for the Steelers in the 2nd round of the Planet Steelers Mock Draft and I know Ruthless liked him also.

Jared Veldheer: The OT Who Should Have Been the Steelers’ 2010 2nd-Round Pick

Posted on December 31, 2010 by ted

The Steelers’ 2010 draft class has already paid huge dividends and appears to be one of Pittsburgh’s best and deepest draft hauls in recent years. Eight of the 10 draft picks are still on the 53-man roster and five are making key contributions for the 11-4 Steelers, including rookie Pro-Bowl selection Maurkice Pouncey.

However, the one head-scratcher from that draft was tabbing OLB prospect Jason Worilds in the second round, since that was earlier than most had Worilds projected and he will likely not start in Pittsburgh for several years – if ever. Instead, as J.J. can affirm that I begged for at the time, that second-round pick should have been Jared Veldheer. The Steelers would be better off now and have a much brighter future at offensive tackle if they had picked Veldheer last year.

Veldheer is now the starting left tackle for the Raiders. The 6-foot-8, 315-pounder actually began the season as the team’s starting center, but has been protecting the blindside for the last eight games for an Oakland squad that is second in the NFL in rushing yards per game (152.3) despite having no quality receivers or a decent quarterback.

Now, truth be told, I always call out at least two possible names as desired picks after the first round and the other name I yelled last year before the Steelers’ second-round selection was Golden Tate, the Notre Dame receiver. Tate, though, is nowhere near as good as Steelers’ third-round pick Emmanuel Sanders, and having Tate instead of Sanders would make a slow Pittsburgh receiving corps even slower.

Moreover, I did not expect Veldheer to come in from Hillsdale College and be a starting left tackle in the NFL as a rookie. No one did. In fact, I figured Veldheer would be a reserve as a rookie whose only chance of starting for any team would be at right guard, figured that he might be able to start at right tackle by year No. 2 and could theoretically be a starting left tackle down the road.

Still, tackle is such a huge need for the Steelers in the future that Veldheer was worthy of the Steelers’ second-round pick last year, particularly since many experts had him going off the board earlier even though he ultimately lasted until the fifth pick of the third round.

Now, no one could project that Pittsburgh would lose both of its starting OTs (Willie Colon and Max Starks) to season-ending injuries in 2010. The signing of veteran Flozell Adams to replace Colon saved the Steelers’ season and joureyman Jonathan Scott has been serviceable at times in replacing Starks at left tackle.

However, tackle was a major need for the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft, since Colon is slated to be an unrestricted free agent after 2010 (assuming a CBA is reached) and the team had virtually no depth behind Colon and Starks on the outside.

But yet the Steelers finished off their 10th consecutive draft without taking an offensive tackle prospect in the first two rounds, the only team in the NFL to not do so in the past decade.

Roger Goodell’s recent comments about the league’s labor strife makes it now seem more likely that a labor accord will be reached that allows Colon to become an UFA, meaning there is a good chance he will leave the Steelers, since the front office has never put a premium on retaining Colon, who will also be coming back from an Achilles tear. That means Adams will probably again be the team’s right tackle in 2011 when he is 36.

That also means that tackle is a major need for the Steelers in the 2011 draft, although the veteran Steelers again will have more immediate needs (RG, CB), where upgrades could give them a better chance of winning another Super Bowl.

However, it is inconceivable to project Adams to still play in 2012, meaning that the Steelers will have to draft his likely replacement this April in a down year for tackle prospects or expect a late, first-round pick in 2012 to start at tackle as a rookie. It sure would have been nice to have Veldheer inked in as a future, long-term starter at one tackle spot.

Now, that does not mean that Worilds is a bad player. He was just a luxury pick by a franchise with an aging roster that could not afford to do so in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Pro Football Weekly wrongly dubbed Worilds as one of the five biggest reaches in the entire 2011 NFL Draft. But that was absurd, since he was projected as a 2nd-4th-round pick by almost every draft service.

Worilds, however, may have been available with the Steelers’ third-round pick, as tweener DE/OLB Jermaine Cunningham was the only player listed by anyone as an OLB prospect that was selected after the Worilds pick before the Steelers took Thad Gibson in the fourth round, only to release him early in the season because they were too deep at linebacker.

Worilds has also been a special-teams stud for the Steelers this fall and showcased raw speed as a pass rusher in helping the Steelers preserve a 23-22 win at Miami this year after starter LaMarr Woodley left the game due to injury.

But Worilds is actually the team’s No. 4 OLB, since ILB Lawrence Timmons moves to the outside if either of the Steelers’ superstar starting OLBs in James Harrison and Woodley goes down.

Woodley is likely to be signed to a long-term deal as soon as possible and will be franchised (the tag will likely be restored if/when a new CBA is reached) to keep him in Pittsburgh if a deal cannot be worked out quickly.

Harrison, meanwhile, has shown no signs of slowing down in the second year of a six-year contract, which likely means he has another two — and probably three — years as a starter. That means Worilds could be an unrestricted free agent before he ever becomes a regular starter in Pittsburgh; and teams should never take someone with their second-round pick to be a backup for four years while ignoring positions of major need.

And do not buy the BS motto that the Steelers or any other team that claims to take the best player available (BPA). Wrong. The Steelers come into drafts with positions of need and look to fill those positions in various rounds, taking into account their overall draft board.

The Steelers did not need a starting RB when it selected Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, but they did need a No. 2 RB and knew that Willie Parker would not be an NFL starter for much longer. With the exception of Mendenhall and QB Ben Roethlisberger (2004), all other Steeler first-round picks in the past decade filled immediate needs.

Moreover, the only times Pittsburgh drafts the BPA on its board in the first four rounds without taking into account its needs has been for OLBs in the mostly successful Kevin Colbert era, with the one exception of taking TE Matt Spaeth in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

At that time the Steelers had its young, starting tight end Heath Miller secured to a long-term deal and also had a quality No. 2 tight end in Jermane Tuman, who had just completed the first season of a three-year deal. However, Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians argued for drafting Spaeth that year, because of his value as a red-zone target and as a receiver.

Spaeth was a poor blocker for his first 2.5 years before improving in that respect in the second half of the 2009 season and that has continued this fall. Unfortunately, his increased bulk has negated any separation speed he once possessed, and his 36 career receptions to go with six career drops does not equate to a good pick when the Steelers passed up Marshal Yanda at that spot despite everyone projecting Pittsburgh to take at least one offensive linemen with its first three picks that year. Yanda has started all 15 games for the Ravens this fall.

However, at least Spaeth was drafted in the round where most expected him to go. All other head-scratchers in the Colbert era were outside linebacker picks. Taking Bruce Davis in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft was absurd since Pittsburgh’s need for linebacker depth was much less then than it was in 2010 and Davis was projected as a 4th-6th-rounder. He was a bust. My preferred pick in that spot was Oniel Cousins and yes, I would much rather have the Ravens’ offensive line than our current group.

And of course the stupidest pick of all was taking Alonzo Jackson in the second round in 2003 when no one else thought the 266-pound Jackson could convert to a 3-4 OLB, nor did anyone project him to go in the second round after an unimpressive postseason.

In other words, the Steelers generally do not take BPA or reach for players at non-need areas unless they are outside linebackers, and that philosophy is why Pittsburgh has the best starting four and deepest group of linebackers in the NFL to go with lousy No. 2-3 corners, a poor offensive line, and an aging defensive line.

Colbert and the entire Steelers’ front office should be commended for a superb 2010 NFL Draft and running an exemplary organization. But the Steelers’ proclivity for ignoring offensive tackle while falling in love with too many outside linebackers in the draft is why the team’s future at tackle looks so bleak.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/j ... ound-pick/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/jared-veldheer-ot-steelers-2010-2ndround-pick/)

NW Steeler
01-03-2011, 02:15 PM
Well, hindsight is 20/20 after all, isn't it? I'm not sure if the Steelers will unload the bank to re-sign Woodley at this point either. If the do indeed feel like Worilds is ready to be thrown in, I would not be surprised to see Woodley walk. Of course if Wood has 2 sacks per game in the playoffs and causes a critical fumble in the AFCC against the Patsies, then I will change my tune!

01-03-2011, 02:30 PM
I did like Veldheer last year, but I wasn't necessarily pushing for him in the second, since I though Mount Cody was a good value there considering the age of our other 2 nose tackles.

I did like an OT in the first (Bulaga) moreso than the center we took (Pouncey). Goes to show that the front office tends to know more than me (I didn't dislike Pouncey, though...just though Bulaga offered better value, since top OT prospects seem to be so hard to find that when one falls in your lap, you almost have to take it).

These are the guys that I picked for us as the draft was going on last year:

1. OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
2. NT Terrence Cody, Alabama
3. CB Brandon Ghee, Wake Forest
4. RB Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
5a. DE Austen Lane, DE, Murray State
5b. WR Carlton Mitchell, South Florida
5c. S Myron Rolle, Florida State
6a. TE Dorin Dickerson, Pittsburgh
6b. ILB Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State
7. OT/OG Ciron Black, LSU

Took Dwyer a bit earlier than I had to, eh?

01-03-2011, 03:47 PM
Since we are going back in time. How do you all feel about Alex Mack vs Pouncey? I know he was someone the board wanted big time, I'm just curious as to how you all feel about the 2. Please note, I really don't know much about college players and really don't understand the finer point of the OL outside of just block the guy in front of you.

01-03-2011, 04:18 PM
I really wanted Mack at #32 in 2009. Thought that would be great value to get the best center in the draft after winning the Super Bowl. I was shocked when the Browns traded down from 5 to 17, then 19, then 21 to get him. I liked Mack significantly more than Wood or Unger that year, but I would have been satisified if we were able to get Unger in Round 2. Pouncey was the one true elite center draft prospect his year, though. J.D. Walton and Matt Tennant were several rounds behind Pouncey (much further gap between Pouncey and Walton/Tennant than between Mack and Wood/Unger).

I was definitely more on the Mack bandwagon then than I was on the Pouncey bandwagon, but I think that had more to do about where we were drafting those particular years. Since we really could improve ourselves anywhere across the o-line, I wanted us to get a top 4 OT if we were drafting in the mid-first (since those are premium picks), and get the best center or guard in the draft if we are drafting in the late first (since those guys tend to fall more than their tackle counterparts).

Certainly can't complain about how it ultimately went down, though! Pouncey is the man! Please, sir...may I have another?


01-03-2011, 04:33 PM
Just because a guy is starting at tackle doesn't mean their doing a good job. Look at our game vs the Raiders, their offensive line got destroyed. Then again there are a lot of better tackles for your franchise LT than a practice squad RT.

01-04-2011, 12:29 AM
Well, hindsight is 20/20 after all, isn't it?

it wasn't hindsight when I selected Veldheer for the Steelers in the second round in the Planet Steelers Mock Draft, that obviously occurred before the actual draft itself.

if we had drafted Veldheer we would be able to scratch OT off our draft needs list and could focus on our other needs at OG, CB and getting younger on the DL.

01-04-2011, 01:33 AM

01-04-2011, 05:48 AM
Drafting Pouncey will alter our whole OL going forward. Recently we have drafted bigger slower OG's and OT's. Pouncey has showed how speed and agility serve our offense much more effectively. I believe going forward we will draft more agile OL who have excellent technique.

01-04-2011, 10:04 AM
Nah...I'm ok the way it went. 16 (approx. guess) other picks went but nobody jumped on him. This is just something every team can say every year looking at every draft. Who cares...$hit happens and nobody has a crystal ball. I'm happy with Worilds. If something happened at LB where he had to fill in more frequently, everyone could be saying, "Thank God we went with Worilds." Standing here now and commenting on the 2010 draft gives no merrit or loss of creditibilty to anyone. If I would "wish" anything happened differently after what transpired over 2010, it would be Akwasi Owusu-Ansah over Gibson just because we lost him. I was high on both of them. If we didn't lose Gibson trying to manuever players on the roster, I wouldn't even bring that up. So there is the exact reasoning I'm talking about. If they did draft Veldheer and lost Gibson making room for Mcclendon...What does the Steelers future at OLB look like? We would be scrambling this draft for OLB.

01-04-2011, 11:02 AM

Is that Bosworth??? :lol: :lol: :lol:

01-04-2011, 12:01 PM
Personally I wanted Mangold before Mack. Mostly, because we had a need and we had a later pick, so we couldn't get a top T or DL.
Had we picked Mangold, we would not have had SHolmes.
Not sure how things would have gone, but would we trade Mangold and Bulaga (for instance) for Pouncey and Holmes?
Or OL today might be better, but we might have not won the last SB without Holmes. Though he's gone now. All random conjecture though, so not a big deal.
Can't really complain about it since we got a SB. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Though we need to finish skinning it and get another top OL this draft. I could tolerate a DL however if a good one drops to us at....32.

01-04-2011, 12:55 PM
Is that Bosworth??? :lol: :lol: :lol:
I think it's actually Boz's younger brother, Marty McFly Bosworth.

01-04-2011, 07:20 PM
when OTs this athletic are still available in the 2nd round and you have a need at OT, you should draft them.

oh wait, I did... :D

Oakland Raiders LT Jared Veldheer: The Steal of the 2010 NFL Draft?

By big ROC Stockton, CA (Correspondent) on November 11, 2010


Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft, one of the biggest weaknesses the Raiders needed to address was the offensive line. Most believed that they would draft the best available offensive lineman with the eighth overall pick.

There were a few players worthy of the pick, but with Russell Okung and Trent Williams off the board, the Raiders decided to go defense and drafted LB Rolando McClain.

The second round came and there weren't many offensive lineman worthy of selecting that high in the second round other than Zane Beadles. Some draft experts, like Mel Kiper Jr., thought for sure the Raiders should take Jimmy Clausen, but Tom Cable had other things in mind.

The Raiders used their second-round pick on DT Lamar Houston out of Texas. The 300-pounder was then converted to DE where he is having a solid rookie season.

That brings us to the third round, where I believe the Raiders found the steal of the 2010 NFL Draft. With the 69th overall pick the Raiders drafted LT Jared Veldheer out of tiny Hillsdale College.

The 6'8", 315-pound Veldheer was a dominant force at Hillsdale. He just needed to prove himself against a tougher level of talent.

He came on strong during training camp and by the end of preseason he was given a starting position. He was named the starting center over Samson Satele.

The experiment at center lasted just one regular season game. Maybe playing a 6'8" rookie at C isn't the best idea considering he hadn't played the position since high school.

In the second game of the season he began rotating with Mario Henderson at LT. The rotation at LT continued for a few games and Veldheer began getting more snaps.

He eventually was named the full time starting LT and it has been paying off. Veldheer along with Robert Gallery have formed into a very strong left side.

They are blowing defenders off the ball and opening lanes for Darren McFadden to run through.

It's not every year you find a LT in the third round that is able to hold his own in his rookie season. Jared Veldheer is not only holding his own but he is man handling guys out there.

He is a mauler-type LT. He has a nastiness to him and although he is a rookie, he doesn't back down from any challenge and isn't intimidated by anybody.

He has gotten better every game he has played this year. He will only get better with more reps at LT. Veldheer has done a pretty good job protecting Jason Campbell's blind side.

The Raiders have always drafted well in the mid and late rounds. Jared Veldheer just adds to the list of productive players the Raiders have found in the mid/late rounds like Louis Murphy, Tyvonn Branch, Michael Bush, Trevor Scott and Jacoby Ford to name a few.

Veldheer is playing just as good if not better than offensive linemen Trent Williams (4th overall), Russell Okung (6th), Anthony Davis (11th), Mike Iupati (17th), Maurkice Pouncey (18th), and Brian Bulaga (23rd) who were all drafted in the first round.

Veldheer's solid play has made him a steal considering he was drafted 50-60 picks after the above-mentioned first round picks.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/5149 ... -nfl-draft (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/514900-oakland-raiders-lt-jared-veldheer-the-steal-of-the-2010-nfl-draft)