I’m in good shape and where I want to be
Eddie Vanderdoes would probably be happiest to have the questions about his physical condition end.
The Raiders’ rookie defensive tackle may soon get his wish.
Vanderdoes weighed in at 301 pounds when the Raiders rookies convened last week for their mini camp. After a disappointing senior year that saw him get as high as 340 pounds, he’s pleased with where he’s at and even happier with his new work environment.
“I feel really good,” Vanderdoes said. “I’m in good shape and where I want to be. Now, it’s just learning the playbook, learning the technique and taking it to the next level.”
Vanderdoes said he hasn’t been giving a specific number on the scale that the Raiders are looking for yet.
“We’ll probably get in more detail, exactly where they want,” Vanderdoes said. “Right now, just kind of feeling everything out, just kind of see how we’re playing and all that.”
Along with the work in the weight room, Vanderdoes has credited changes in his diet with getting him in better playing shape. And he was thrilled to meet with Raiders strength and condition coach Joe Gomes, who spent nine years working at EXOS, which is where Vanderdoes trained to prepare for the combine and his NFL future.
“Diet’s been huge,” Vanderdoes said. “It’s just a matter of portion control and exactly what you take into your body. I learned a lot of that at EXOS.
“Going into some of the stuff we already did today, I’m already used to doing because I did it at EXOS. I know what they are going to expect out of me. They have the same stations for protein supplements that EXOS has. I’m able to thrive in the strength and conditioning program and excited to get to work.”
Has shedding 40 pounds over the past several months been difficult?
“Not that hard, honestly,” he said. “It’s just discipline, you know? Getting my weight down since the end of November has been the goal I had set for myself and I knew I had to do it, and I did it. I feel great and I plan on staying here, for sure. There’s no more slip ups or whatever you guys want to call it. So, I’m not really worried about that.”
The third-round pick out of UCLA is viewed as a player that, if he’s at his peak, is more than capable of helping boost the Raiders interior defensive line play that was severely lacking last season.
His defensive tackle position is one that it matters little if he’s a starter or not. The Raiders, like most teams, heavily rotate on the defensive line and he should be expected to share a role with guys like Justin Ellis, Jihad Ward and Darius Latham. If he’s got some pass rush juice in him, he could work in on the sub package interior too with guys like Mario Edwards Jr. and Denico Autry.
“Right now I’m just taking it day by day, trying to get better, trying to work on my technique, trying to get used to the playbook and what the coaches ask me to do,” Vanderdoes said.
He’s also had a chance to enjoy the reaction in his Northern California hometown of Auburn, where he was a star at Placer High.
“It’s been a whirlwind in Auburn,” Vanderdoes said. “Most of Auburn is Raiders fans and if they’re not Raiders fans, they just became one last week. I’m happy to make my community proud and it’s great that they support me 100 percent. It’s nice that I’m local. Couldn’t be in a better situation than I am right now.”