2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Ben Ijalana
Ijalana was a four year starter as a left tackle for the Wildcats, and he is a two time All-American. He was an Outland Trophy finalist in 2010, as the only FCS representative.
Player Name: Benjamin Ijalana
Position: Offensive Guard/Tackle
Height: 6’3 1/2
Hand: 10 1/2
Ijalana’s athleticism is a big reason why he’s speculated to be either a left tackle, right tackle, or guard in the NFL. He is quite strong, and he has very good size for a guard at the next level. Despite being 6’4, he has long arms, and he uses his hands very well getting an excellent initial punch. He does a nice job of getting to the second level in the run game, and finishes blocks well. He is a leader, and has excellent intangibles. His football IQ is quite high, and he’s a very smart player. Ijalana is quick for a 320 pound body, and can play in space, and does a nice job in recovery.
Ijalana doesn’t really seem to have a mean streak and leaves more to be desired in pass protection at times. While he is strong and quick, he doesn’t always have a great drop step against speed rushers, and needs to use his long arms to his advantage, not letting defenders get in on his hands. He needs to improve his footwork technique. He has the quick feet to play left tackle, but he is best off moving inside to guard. His 6’4 height leaves more to be desired as well, in terms of playing tackle. The last worry about Ijalana is the fact that he never faced great competition playing in the FCS.
Ijalana is a bit raw, and will likely be groomed if his drafting team wants him to play tackle. But he has great physical tools and should be able to make an impact immediately on the inside. I’m not as optimistic as others in thinking he can play tackle, so I think he’ll drop into the middle of the second round as a top notch guard. The highest Ijalana could be drafted is at pick 23 with Philadelphia, who would love to add versatility to the offensive line. Atlanta, New England, Chicago, and Pittsburgh could all take a look at him in the first as well. The 41-50 range is most likely with teams like Washington, Houston, Detroit, Denver, and San Diego most likely coveting him.
NFL Comparison: Vladimir Ducasse