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The Colts Front Office Discusses The 2011 NFL Draft Picks: Ben Ijalana

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Well, now that we're done getting angry at Bill Polian for (once again) treating football fans like idiots, we can get back to discussing the draft selections Bill's son Chris reportedly made last week. Today, we focus on Villanova guard-tackle Ben Ijalana. With these stories, we quote what Colts executives and coaches have to say about the draft picks, and where they fit into the overall make-up of this team.

In Ijalana's case, those thinking he will be just a guard along Indy's offensive line are sorely mistaken, and if I'm Ryan Diem, I'm checking the want ads.

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Discussing Ben Ijalana, Pick No. 49 Overall

Sources:, 1070 The Fan- Dan Dakich Show 5/2/2011, Grady and Big Joe Show 5/3/2011

  • Jim Irsay compared the drafting of Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana this year to when Bill Tobin drafted Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows in the first and second rounds in 1997. 'We all remember Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows, how that really set the stage when Peyton came in and we continued to have great players. Those offensive tackles meant so much. We always joke about the late George Young, the Hall of Fame general manager of the NY Giants, all he would talk about is tackles. Offensive tackles.'
  • Irsay: 'I think he can play guard and also play tackle. He reminded us a lot, comparing him to, Leon Searcy, who was a little bit of a shorter guy in terms of playing tackle. But, really long arms, really physical, really tough, and we really think, we obviously ask our guys to play a lot of different positions. He could play guard, but he could also go to tackle.'
  • Bill Polian stated, 'We think he can play both positions at tackle and guard.' Very tough. Very strong. Great feet. Polian listed him at 6' 3.5. 
  • Chris Polian stated Ijalana is bigger than what we've played with.
  • Jim Caldwell highlighted that Ijalana played 58 straight games for Villanova. 'We look for those kinds of things, guys being able to weather the storm, particularly on the interior, both offensive and defensive line.'
  • Chris Polian: The 2011 NFL Draft for the Colts was a case of best players available met team needs.
  • Chris Polian clearly considers Ijalana a starter right now. This means that either Ryan Diem or Mike Pollak are getting sent to the bench. 'We have not decided where [Ijalana] is gonna start yet. I think our feeling is to get him in and let's work him out a couple of days and kind of decided where we want to line up at that point. Anthony will go in at left tackle.'
  • CP said Ijalana did play left tackle all four years at Nova. He also played other positions as part of match-ups and scheming for the opponent.
  • CP: 'Long term [Ijalana] probably projects to right tackle.' Thus, looks like Ijalana was selected to replace Ryan Diem. Diem played guard his first two years in the draft before moving to RT. Ijalana might have a similar track.

The Colts trade up in the second round (giving up their fifth round and second round picks in 2011) to take Ijalana. The fifth rounder they surrendered would eventually go to the Texans, who took quarterback Taylor Yates from UNC. The second round (53rd overall) that the Colts traded up from eventually went to Chicago who took Stephen Paea, DT from Oregon State.

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