The Indianapolis Colts' signing of wide receiver Duron Carter out of the Canadian Football League this offseason received a lot of hype and a lot of attention. The team also signed another player out of the CFL in offensive lineman Ben Heenan, though the move didn't receive nearly the amount of attention that the signing of Carter did. Maybe it's because Carter is the son of an NFL Hall of Famer. Or maybe it's because he plays wide receiver instead of offensive line. But either way, Ben Heenan isn't a guy to overlook when it comes to the Colts' roster.
Heenan (6-4, 315 pounds) was the first overall pick in the 2012 CFL Draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, selected out of the University of Saskatchewan, where he played four seasons at both guard and tackle. During his three seasons with the Roughriders, Heenan played in 52 games, starting 49, and started all 21 games in the 2014 season. He saw time primarily at guard but also at tackle, showing versatility that the Colts love in their offensive linemen (particularly their backups). Our own Andrew Aziz wrote that Heenan is a good pass blocker and is solid against the run, writing that, "he possesses the skills you look for in a starter."
Heenan might not end up starting with the Colts right away; he first has to focus on making the roster. He seems suited well at either right guard or tackle for the team, but at right guard is Todd Herremans and at right tackle is either Gosder Cherilus, Jack Mewhort, or Joe Reitz. There is a lot to like about Heenan, however, and he stands a good chance to make the roster as a depth lineman. There, he can provide valuable depth at a number of positions along the offensive line (which, as we've seen, is very much needed over the course of a season) and can continue to learn, develop, and adjust to the NFL game. He will have plenty of competition for depth spots along the offensive line, such as Joe Reitz, Lance Louis, Hugh Thornton, Jonotthan Harrison (or Khaled Holmes if Harrison ends up starting), Donald Thomas, and others, but it is reasonable to think that Heenan could earn a spot on the 53-man roster. He'll absolutely have to earn it in training camp and preseason, but there's a lot to like about the signing of Ben Heenan.