By Steve Corkran
Friday, July 9th, 2010 at 2:09 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Almost half of the more than 250 players selected in the 2010 NFL draft in April are under contract. Yet, until Friday none of the Raiders nine draftees had signed.
That changed when the Raiders signed offensive linemen Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell to long-term contracts. The Raiders still have plenty of work to do in this area, given training camp begins in less than three weeks.
Not to worry, though. The Raiders have a long history of getting all of their draft picks signed in time for the start of training camp. The notable exception, of course, was former quarterback JaMarcus Russell missing all of training camp in 2007, as well as the first week of the regular season, while his agent and the Raiders haggled over a contract.
Veldheer was the third player selected by the Raiders, Campbell the fourth. Linebacker Rolando McClain (first round) and defensive end Lamarr Houston (2nd) are the only players selected higher who are unsigned.
McClain has said more than once that he doesn’t expect much difficulty in reaching agreement on a contract with the Raiders and that he intends to be on the field in Napa for the first practice.
The other draftees who have yet to sign are wide receiver Jacoby Ford (fourth-rounder), cornerback Walter McFadden (5th), linebacker Travis Goethel (6th), and defensive backs Jeremy Ware (7th) and Stevie Brown (7th).
None of those mid- to low-rounders are expected to pose a problem getting under contract, and deals should be consummated long before camp starts.
The Raiders have high hopes for Veldheer and Campbell. Both played offensive tackle in college, Veldheer at Hillsdale (Mich.) College and Campbell at Maryland. Campbell has moved to guard for now so that he can get more reps and become more versatile, according to coach Tom Cable.
The Raiders are hopeful that Veldheer and Campbell mature into starters before long and serve as the anchors for the offensive line for years to come. It’s conceivable that one or both will be in the starting lineup at some point this season, if not for the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans.