The Denver Broncos whiffed big time when they signed Raiders 2013 second-round draftee Menelik Watson and made him their starting right offensive tackle last season. On Friday, they turned to another former Raiders starting offensive tackle in an attempt to bolster their offensive line.
This time, the Broncos traded a sixth-round draft pick to the Arizona Cardinals for Jared Veldheer, who starred for the Raiders for four years before he bolted in free agency in 2014.
Oh, the mind races at the prospect of Veldheer matching up against Raiders defensive ends Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin twice next year.
Veldheer spent his first seven NFL seasons as a left tackle. The Cardinals moved him around last season, from left tackle to right tackle to right guard.
He doesn’t appear to be the player he was during his Raiders career but he’s still 6-foot-8 and 325 pounds, very strong and quite savvy. He will need all those traits against Mack and Irvin, who tend to have their way with taller, stronger and not-as-quick tackles.
Veldheer was a draft pick of late-owner Al Davis in 2010. He went from a little-known player from an obscure college in Michigan called Hillsdale to a cornerstone of the Raiders offensive line.
He signed with the Cardinals after having not received an offer from the Raiders, he said. Ultimately, the Raiders fared just fine by signing free agent Donald Penn, who was named to the Pro Bowl last season.
More important, the move shows that the Raiders still have options at right tackle if recent signee Breno Giacomini and inexperienced candidates Vadal Alexander, David Sharpe, Denver Kirkland and Jylan Ware don’t pan out.
Getting a player of Veldheer’s stature for a sixth-round pick seems like quite a bargain, and helps the Broncos forget about the poor decision that led to Watson starting seven games last season.