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2011 NFL Draft: Colts Looking At Villanova's Ben Ijalana And Syracuse's Ryan Bartholomew

Over the last three days, we've seen news come in that the Colts are continuing to workout offensive linemen. For those of you out there who agree with us that offensive line is the No. 1 priority in the 2011 NFL Draft, this news should give you comfort.

National Football Post's Aaron Wilson is reporting that the Colts, among other teams, have shown interest in Syracuse's Ryan Bartholomew (tip to Azrael1987).

Syracuse center Ryan Bartholomew is one of the most athletic offensive line draft prospects, running the 40-yard dash in 4.93 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and bench pressing 225 pounds 34 times.

The All-Big East center improved his vertical leap to 29 inches at his Pro Day workout and posted an 8-3 broad jump.

He hang cleans 402 pounds, has a 525-pound squat and has under 17 percent body fat.

The 6-foot-1, 302-pounder is slightly undersized for the position, but has ideal strength and mobility.

Also, GoHorse88 has been so obsessed with has been so diligent with finding us draft news that he actually shuffled through the images of Ben Ijalana's Villanova Pro Day and saw Colts scouts in the photos. It also helped that the article stated all 32 teams sent scouts to the Villanova Pro Day.

Ijalana is a 6'3, 340 pound tackle projected to fall to the second or third round. From Jon Dove's scouting report at Mocking the Draft:

Run blocking: When evaluating an offensive lineman you want to see a bit of a nasty streak and Ijalana has the drive to finish off plays. He has a quick first step that gives him an advantage in getting inside hands and leverage. He uses his long arms to lock out the defender and drive them off the football. Ijalana needs to work on being more consistent with this technique and pad level but overall he has the skills to be an effective run blocker in the NFL.


Final word: Ijalana is a good looking prospect with the a ton of upside. His overall build and athletic ability will intrigue NFL teams because he is basically an un-molded piece of clay. I have concerns about his weight distribution and technique but most of those issues can be corrected with coaching. Something, you cannot teach is long arms and Ijalana has the length to effectively lock out defenders. He will also get some love because of his versatility. Ijalana has the size and skills to play either tackle or guard in the NFL.

To me, Ijalana and Bartholomew project more as guards. That the Colts are looking are guards, despite the fact they have a gaggle of them, tells me they aren't happy with the play of guys like Mike Pollak and Jamey Richard. Based on what we all saw last year, why would they have faith in either of them?

With the Colts also showing interest in Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder, I personally feel very good about what direct they seem to be going in with this draft.