Bolts Prospect Analysis: O-Line, Part III

Jaime Cattano carries on her four-part series examining the offensive linemen the Bolts met with at the Senior Bowl. Come draft time, the Chargers will give the front line a piercing look and this prospect's dominating speed and poise put him on the hit list. Despite his small-school background, the Bolts have no hesitancies in his ability to perform.

The Chargers coaching staff grabbed Heath Benedict of Newberry College for a private meeting in Mobile, Ala., which marked the first of three meetings between the two parties over the past two months. A Div. II player, Benedict recognizes the Bolts skepticism in his ability to play with the big dogs. His attitude and performance squash any concerns looming in the air.

"I know one of the biggest questions coaches may have about me is the level of competition I encountered coming from a Div. II school. It's a great opportunity for me to come to the Senior Bowl and compete against some of the best players in college football and prove that I can excel."

Benedict made quite a splash during his senior year. He was named first-team All-South Atlantic Conference and first-team Associated Press Little All-American. The highly decorated player is ready for the challenges ahead.

"It will be tough making adjustment going from Div. II to Div. 1 and even beyond because, among many reasons, the speed is different," he said.

Benedict already demonstrates impressive agility and acceleration, and his poise allows him to take good angles. But the talented athlete landed in Mobile and left his pride at home. He eagerly embraced instruction from coaches that both challenged and altered his techniques on the field.

"I'm adjusting my stance and working on coming out of the 3-point stance as opposed to the 2-point stance. I'm struggling with it right now because all we did was the 2-point stance in college."

Benedict holds a complete and unique package. Measuring 6'6" and 328 pounds at the NFL Combine, Benedict has prototypical size for a right tackle. He also proved his stature at the Combine, placing in the top-ten among offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (5.09 seconds), vertical jump (28.5") and broad jump (9'2").

The Bolts need to fill the trenches and Benedict could be perfect fit. Able to play guard or tackle, Benedict could be used as a backup at both positions. He can finish blocks and dominate with excellent footwork and strength.

The Bolts know Marcus McNeill and Jeromey Clary can't be the only two holding down the outskirts of the line. Benedict's power and natural field presence demonstrate a molding ability that will be sure to lure A.J. Smith.


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