Veldheer has clearly been spending a considerable amount of time with strength coach Mark Ehnis, who proudly posted a picture of his client (far left) on Twitter:
Coach Mark Ehnis @ThePowerMark
My job is to create big, strong, athletic dudes. #missionaccomplished @Veldheer68 @camwhite23 @JDPeterson75 http://t.co/3S6rLfUO2q2013-3-26 02:57:16
To compare, this is what Veldheer looked like the last time he suited up for the Raiders.
While 300-pound left tackles are always physically imposing people, Veldheer now looks more at home in a comic book than on a football field. Having a physique that would make any of the Avengers jealous doesn't directly contribute to production on the football field, but in Veldheer’s case, this continues his trend of willingness to improve that has been apparent since he entered the league.
Veldheer stands 6’8” and weighed in at 312 pounds at the 2010 combine. He posted 32 reps in the bench press and was impressive enough for the Raiders to draft him in the third round.
He played his college ball at tiny Hillsdale, a Division II school in Michigan. Despite his complete lack of experience against top-level talent, Oakland opted to throw him into the fire as a rookie.
In 2010, Veldheer started 15 games, and unsurprisingly, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) rated him the 68th best tackle in the NFL that season.
But what came next wasn't expected; Veldheer improved drastically between his rookie and sophomore campaigns, and during his second season in Oakland, PFF graded him the 17th best tackle in football. His ascension did not stop there, as this past year he was the league’s 12th best tackle according to PFF.
Figuring out the most important position on the offensive line takes time, and as of now, Veldheer appears to be way ahead of the learning curve. He is on his way to being one of the elite players at his position.
His workout regimen this offseason clearly shows that he has the drive to fully commit himself to improving each and every year. A physique like that doesn't come easily, and he has likely had little free time since the season ended.
The Raiders should be excited to see him at training camp, as everything about his career thus far, including his ability to get ridiculously jacked over the past few months, suggests that he will keep getting better and better.