The Oakland Raiders desperately needed to improve their defense this offseason. And they may done so in the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. But first-round pick cornerback Gareon Conley has yet to participate in training camp due to shin-splints and second-round pick safety Obi Melifonwu has missed the last few days himself with an injury. So as of now only third-round defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, is the only one impressing.
The former UCLA top-5 recruit out of high school is a first-round talent himself. But his last collegiate season was marred by weight gain (340 pounds) and lack of conditioning due to injury. Vanderdoes has since gotten his weight down and returned to his original form. At 6’3”, 305 pounds, he runs a 4.9 40, has very powerful hands and solid technique.
That first round talent is showing it at Raiders training camp. His draft status likely gave him the chip on his shoulder to put that talent on display.
Against the run, he can bench press opposing O-lineman en-route to making the play. If you double him in the run game, you still can’t move him off the line of scrimmage. He also has the quickness and agility to split double-teams to make tackles for losses.
That quickness and agility is of great help to him when he’s rushing the passer. He also has the strength and power to bull his way or walk opposing O-linemen back to the passer. And to go with all that, he has all the hand-fighting technique you need.
“He’s a hell of a player,” said linemate Mario Edwards Jr. “He’s really strong, has good hands. He is going to make some noise this year.”
The media that has been at the Raiders’ training camp seem to agree with Edwards’s assessment. He got around Gabe Jackson in one-on-one drills Thursday and Levi Damien tweeted of him sacking QB Derek Carr on Friday and Saturday.
Bruce Irvin and Eddie Vanderdoes get in the backfield for the sack. #Raiders— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 5, 2017
The Raiders have the best OG tandem in the NFL, not giving a single sack in 2016. So we can’t say that he is doing this against guys that don’t protect the passer well. He’s going be trouble with Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and Edwards rushing the passer.
Vanderdoes has come out looking like a top pick in the draft. So it would appear he’s confirming he’s a steal and making the defense better already.