John Niyo / The Detroit News
Indianapolis — Jared Veldheer plopped down in a chair, set down his backpack, and smiled.
Here he was, an offensive tackle out of tiny Hillsdale College, beginning the biggest job interview of his life at the NFL combine. And unlike some of his peers, he was in no hurry for it to end.
“I’m just taking it all in,” Veldheer said. “Coming here, a lot of guys say it stresses you out or wears on you. But it hasn’t been that way at all for me. I’m absolutely loving this opportunity.
“It’s definitely a surreal thing to think that I’m in this position. But then once you start thinking about it, I’ve worked very hard to be in the position I’m in right now.”
It certainly shows. Veldheer has emerged as one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2010 draft class: a raw, athletic talent who checked in Thursday at 6-foot-8 — “and one-eighths” — and 312 pounds. He’s projected as a mid-round pick, but could move even higher with an impressive showing here.
And he’s ready to do just that, vowing to finish in the top three in his position group in all of the measurable drills Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. He runs a sub-5.0 40-yard dash, can do 34 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and has been working out at D1 Sports Training in Nashville, alongside other better-known prospects like Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
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