The Buzz: Colts Take a Look at O-Lineman

The Colts already have scouts out checking out the talent that will be filling up draft boards across the NFL in 2007. Find out where they were spotted last weekend and who they appeared to be checking out in our exclusive report for our ColtPower Insiders!

According to a report ColtPower received from Scout.com's draft expert, Tony Pauline, the Indianapolis Colts had scouts in attendance at last weekend's Boston College-Clemson game. And based on his observations, they apparently were taking a good look at three offensive linemen, but Boston College's Josh Beekman appeared to be the most serious candidate to hit the Colts' draft board in '07.

From a talent perspective, they appeared to be intrigued by Clemson guard Nathan Bennett, who Pauline described as a dominant player in the game. But Bennett has a few drawbacks that could be a hindrance to serious consideration by Indianapolis.

Pauline reports that he's not very good in space, and a Clemson writer from our affiliate at Scout.com commented that he's just average in pass protection. That's not going to be a good trait for a lineman expected to protect Peyton Manning. But what is also likely to work against him is that he's supposedly got a nasty streak at times. Bennett was one of six Clemson players suspended for a game as the result of his participation that broke out on the field between Clemson and South Carolina players in 2004. That type of behavior isn't going to fly with an organization like the Colts, even if he would only cost them a late-round pick, which is where he's expected to be selected.

Another interesting prospect the Colts scouts were looking at was Clemson center Dustin Fry, but they didn't appear to see him as much more than a solid player according to Pauline, and certainly not someone who is going to be an upgrade over veteran Jeff Saturday. He's expected to be a middle-round selection in next year's draft.

The prospect that appeared to draw the highest interest was Boston College guard Josh Beekman, one of the highest-rated guards in the nation. Pauline said that one of the Colts scouts was very impressed by Beekman during the game. He's expected to be a top-90 pick, but could come off the board as early as the late second-round. 

With both Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja eligible for restricted free agency after this season, the Colts will need some young talent to cultivate at the guard position, so a second- or third-round selection of a guard wouldn't be out of the question. Both of the young offensive linemen they selected in this year's draft -- Oklahoma State's Charlie Johnson and TCU's Michael Toudouze -- are tackles, so next year Indianapolis should be bringing in some new prospects in for the interior line through the draft. While the team tends to hold onto their center and tackles, they've allowed guards such as Rick DeMulling to move on to other teams when they reached free agency if the asking price got too high.

Beekman is the kind of offensive lineman the Colts covet. According to Pauline, he's "athletic, can block on the move and is very strong at the point." Beekman handled his man all day in front of the scouts, but perhaps even more importantly, Pauline noted that Boston College had to shift him over to center for two offensive series in the second quarter -- and he looked very good there as well. The Colts have a track record of finding talented guards who can double on the depth chart at center. Ryan Lilja did it last summer while Jeff Saturday was injured during the preseason games. Earlier this year, reserve guard Dylan Gandy got some work in at center so he could learn the position.

At 6-foot-1, Beekman weighs in at 320 pounds. That's about 25-30 pounds heavier than Lilja and Scott, and 15-20 pounds heavier than Gandy and Matt Ulrich, another interior line reserve. But the Boston College senior is very agile, even at that weight. So the Colts might not complain about having some added bulk on the line if he can show the quickness of players much lighter than him.

A good student of his position, a quick learner and a person who has a reputation for being of very high character, Beekman is entering his third season as a starter at the right guard position for Boston College. He's a player you'll want to keep in mind as the Colts gear up for the '07 draft as he looks like a logical fit on many fronts. Take a look at him if you see a Boston College game broadcast in your area.


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