Last week, from April 23 to April 25, 255 young men had their football dreams come true. While lacking in the usual grandeur that we have come to expect from modern NFL drafts due to the quarantine we find ourselves in currently, the moment was no less special as players across the country watched commissioner Roger Goodell virtually read their names from the safety and comfort of their homes.
Of all the players drafted, one in particular caught the eye of MIAC fans. With the tenth pick in the fourth round, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Ben Bartch 116th overall. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches and weighing in at 305 pounds, Bartch was a stalwart at offensive tackle for St. John’s University, racking up Second Team All MIAC honors in 2018 and First Team All MIAC honors in 2019.
Following an unproductive two seasons at tight end to begin his college career, Bartch’s coaches suggested that he make the switch to offensive line, citing his excellent blocking abilities. Weighing just 250 pounds at the time, Bartch needed to bulk up if he wanted to compete at a position dictated by size, which he did by downing a protein shake daily consisting of seven scrambled eggs, a tub of cottage cheese, grits, peanut butter, bananas and gatorade, a slurry that rocketed him up to his goal weight of 305 pounds.
Bartch’s size and production impressed the Jaguars enough for them to call his name on the third day of the draft, making him the first St. John’s player to be drafted since 1974 and the first MIAC player to be drafted since 2003. Bartch’s talent will be greatly appreciated down in Jacksonville by second year signal caller Gardner Minshew, especially after the pummeling he took last year behind a Jaguars O-line that allowed 42 sacks and 84 QB hits.
We at St. Olaf wish Ben Bartch nothing but the best and hope he represents the MIAC well throughout his career in the NFL!