Posted by Andy Benoit
Super talented but equally inconsistent Raiders left tackle Mario Henderson could be losing his starting job to rookie Jared Veldheer. Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times says the two players are sharing reps at practice this week.
This is noteworthy on two fronts. One: Henderson, 25 and in his fourth season, is a player the Raiders have meticulously been developing the past few seasons. They’ve now reached what was supposed to be his payoff time, and they’re finding that payoff to be disappointing. Henderson’s poor showing against Justin Smith of the 49ers last week prompted coaches to give some of his practice reps to Veldheer.
What’s more, Veldheer is from tiny Hillsdale. When he was selected in the fourth round, he figured to be rawer than raw. The plan was to bring him along slowly. But thus far, Veldheer has not just learned two positions (left tackle and center), he’s actually pushed for a starting job at both.
The 23-year-old started for injured center Samson Satele in the season opener. However, at 6’8”, it’s doubtful Veldheer has a future inside. His natural athleticism could make him a perfect fit on the edge, though. It’s not known whom the Raiders will start against Denver this week, but a change at some point seems almost certain.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed