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29 Days to the Draft: Hillsdale OT, Jared Veldheer

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

Jared Veldheer is a DII athlete, but one that shows a lot of promise. He is a raw talent in the size of OT Sebastian Vollmer. While I don't think he'll be as NFL ready as Vollmer was, a year of sitting behind Light and watching the NFL speed would do well for this project down the road. If we select Veldheer, it'd be an understanding that he'd be a project and not an immediate contributor- but he does have the size and strength to hold down the LT position down the road and could allow Vollmer to stay at RT.

His measurements and some quotes after the jump Scouting

Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale
Height: 6-8. Weight: 312.
Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
Combine 40 Time: 5.09.
Benchx225: 32. Arm: 33. Scouting

40 Yrd Dash: 5.06
20 Yrd Dash: 2.93
10 Yrd Dash: 1.72

225 Lb. Bench Reps: 32
Vertical Jump: 33 1/2
Broad Jump: 09'01"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.51
3-Cone Drill: 7.40

Some Quotes about Veldheer:

02/03/2010 - Texas vs. the Nation, Tuesday: Hillsdale left tackle Jared Veldheer [was] hard for scouts to take their eyes off of in Tuesday's practice... Veldheer is this year's version of Sebastian Vollmer, the Houston offensive tackle who wowed scouts enough at the 2009 East-West practices to earn a late second-round pick by the Patriots (and a starting spot on the right side). His athleticism -- at 6-8, 315 pounds -- is astounding and he plays with real toughness and consistent arm extension in pass protection. After he runs a sub-5.0 40-yard dash at the Combine, he's almost assured of being a top-75 selection. - Chad Reuter, The Sports Xchange,

03/03/2010 - Jared Veldheer of Forest Hills Northern returned from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis convinced he belongs with the other elite members of the 2010 NFL draft class. The 6-foot-8, 315-pound offensive tackle from Hillsdale College told The Press he got nothing but positive feedback from NFL scouts during interviews, medical evaluations and physical testing drills at the combine. "Yeah, everything went well. It was a very successful four days," he said. Veldheer, a consensus NCAA Division II All-American, said he feels that despite coming from a small college he feels like he opened some eyes performing in front of the scouts. He has been rising on numerous NFL mock draft boards - as high as a second-round pick. "I don't pay a lot of attention to that. I don't have any control over that. Wherever I go, I go," he said of his draft status. "I got a lot of positive feedback from the scouts. They said I helped myself and my stock is rising." Veldheer, a lifelong Michigan resident, does have a preference for what team he'd like to play for next season. "I'd love that," he said if the Detroit Lions drafted him. "They were always my team growing up. I'd like to stay in the Midwest. It'd be sweet playing for the Lions." - Brian VanOchten, The Grand Rapids Press

So while Veldheer may not be NFL ready, nor may he be as elite as some of the other tackles are currently, he has just as much potential. If he's placed in a system that will set him up to succeed, New England is as good as any- Scarneccia will have him prepared. Veldheer won't be an immediate starter, but he'd be a great depth player at our rather emaciated tackle position and would be a quality starter down the road. Selecting Veldheer would allow us more freedom when dealing with Light and Kaczur as neither appear to be top quality tackles anymore- both are expendable.

Verdict: Great prospect that I wouldn't mind a look with our last pick in the 2nd round.