During a recent press conference with Derek Carr, the subject of third-round rookie DT Eddie Vanderdoes came up. Here is what Carr had to say about the guy who lines up across from him in first-team reps:
Q: What do you see out of Eddie Vanderdoes as a rookie coming into this team?
Carr: “Very explosive, great hands. He reminds me a lot of the way [Justin] Tuck can get skinny and shoot a gap. The way he plays with his hands, and if he gets beat the first time, he’s going to counter again. If he gets beat then he’s going to counter again. His mind never stops. His motor never stops. That kind of player inside with Bruce [Irvin] and Khalil [Mack] rushing the outside, it’s going to be a problem. It really is. I’m really happy that we have him and he didn’t go to another AFC West team and let them add another pass rusher.”
Non-stop motor? High football IQ? Get in my belly.
With Dumpster Dan Williams and Justin Ellis tipping the scales at a combined four billion pounds last season, there really wasn’t much in the way of ‘getting skinny and shooting the gap’ in 2016. But, if our intrepid young quarterback is to be believed, the rookie Vanderdoes have this ability. Teams won’t be able to shift all their protection to the outside, and Mack or Irvin or both could be single-blocked. Best of luck with that.
Going into the offseason, the Raiders’ two biggest needs were defensive tackle and inside linebacker. GM Reggie McKenzie opted not to address either need until the last two days of the draft. But if Marquel Lee and Eddie Vanderdoes are as good as advertised, McKenzie looks like a genius for not pouring unnecessary resources into those positions. It is the best of all possible worlds.