2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ben Ijalana

  • Strong, large hands
  • Great pass blocker
  • Quick feet – mirrors defenders well
  • Agility
  • Gets to the second level
  • Athletic former high school wrestler
  • Hard working, durable 4-year starter
  • Can be coached up

  • Gets beaten by fast edge rushers
  • Untested against elite quickness
  • Lower-level competition in FCS
  • Height limits his value at tackle
  • Mental lapses and lacks mean streak
  • Recovering from sports hernia

    Summary: Benjamin Ijalana was one of the reasons Villanova won the 2009 FCS National Championship and returned to the semifinals this past season. There was no question about his success at left tackle playing that level of competition. In the NFL, he is a little short to play tackle and might be best served inside at guard although his long arms might offset his lack of height.

    It also remains to be seen if Ijalana has the fire required to work the trenches at the highest level. He needs to finish better and might not have the temperament great linemen need to be successful battling for a few hours every Sunday. Dealing with speed is also an issue for him. Because of his sports hernia (while training for the 2011 NFL Draft) he was not able to compete at the Senior Bowl where scouts would have been able to get a better look at this problem against other top prospects.

    Player Comparison: Jahri Evans. Bloomsburg is obviously a smaller school than Villanova, but both players were left tackles on their college teams and were looked at for guard when the competition level stepped up. Evans has become an elite player after entering the draft as a project, and Ijalana can at the moment only dream of such an ascension. Some players get better even as the level of competition shoots up, and with coaching there is a chance for Ijalana to be a very good guard. If not for his long arms, I might have likened him to Josh Sitton. There are not too many players I see as a fair comparison for Ijalana.


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