Offensive line has been a glaring need for the Giants over the past few seasons, with limited draft selections to build the unit. The 2020 draft will be a great opportunity to collect multiple young offensive linemen who can contribute right away or develop behind veterans.
While it is very important for the Giants to add someone who can start right away through free agency or the draft, adding developmental talent is very important. Division III offensive tackle Ben Bartch fits that description perfectly.
Bartch is a project that will take some time before he can contribute and start. However, if the necessary work is put into developing him, his ceiling could be high. Like with any small school prospect, it is difficult to fully evaluate their talent level because of who they are competing against. Bartch looks good on tape but is facing players who will be selling insurance come graduation.
Prospect: Ben Bartch OT St. John’s (MN)
Games Watched: vs. Chapman (2019) , vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater (2019)
Red Flags: None
Best: Athleticism, pass blocking mirroring, foot speed, body control
Worst: Run blocking technique, leverage consistency, small school
Projection: An offensive tackle but might play better bumping inside to guard
(Ben Bartch is left tackle number 78)
Bartch is such an interesting prospect to analyze because of how good he looks on film but has serious questions due to the level he played at. Being 6-55 and more than 300 pounds gave Bartch a major advantage against many defenders that wouldn’t survive past the Division III level. However, there are a lot of positive traits to work with from Bartch that make him a very intriguing developmental prospect similar to when Ali Marpet came out of Hobart.
He’s a very lean and tall left tackle that has plenty of room to add extra weight and muscle if he needs. After transitioning from tight end, Bartch had to add a ton of weight and could pack on a little bit more if needed. From his background as a skill position player, he is very athletic for an offensive tackle.
Fundamentally for a Division III player, he has good technique and quickness in his pass protection. He anchors well and was able to win any hand battle with defensive ends. He also maintains a good balance and can change direction to counter a pass rusher. At times his hands can go wide when punching which could lead to penalties in the future. It was comical to observe the strength in his punch going against smaller defensive ends. Some plays he was able to knock opponents to the ground with one swift punch. That will obviously not translate to the NFL, but it’s good to see power and finesse in his hands. Overall he mirrors opposing pass rushers very well and has the foot speed to recover and cut off defenders.
His run blocking appears to be where he needs the most work. Bartch was so much stronger than defensive linemen he was able to rely on it over good technique. At times he would come out of his stance too high and attempt shove or push defenders. He needs to improve on driving off the ball and latching on to the inside of an opponent if he wants to have consistency against NFL defensive linemen.
Overall Grade: 6.0D - A developmental project with starting upside, but his team will need a long-term plan to maximize his upside. [Grading Scale]
Right now the largest hurdle Bartch has to overcome is the stigma of being a small school prospect. The talent and athleticism are there, but he needs to be coached properly and diligently by whatever team drafts him.
You can see a lot of the traits you like in an offensive tackle from Bartch. However, because of who he played against, it will negatively impact his draft stock. If Bartch was coming from the FCS this might be a different conversation, but the drop off in talent at DIII is blatant. Unlike FCS schools, he didn’t have the chance to show himself on tape against FBS opponents.
Bartch did look good in practice during the week of the Senior Bowl, despite battling real pass rushers. His stock could continue to increase with a really good showing at the NFL Combine. A player with his athleticism should test very well, which will intrigue talent evaluators.