04 Sep Preseason Scouting Notes: Ben Petrula, OT, Boston College
Senior | 6’5″ 325 lbs | Freehold, New Jersey | May 4, 1999
A slow but sturdy tackle prospect whose limited athleticism and poor technique will likely relegate him to a career backup
Ben Petrula came to Boston College as a guard coming out of high school but quickly made the switch to center. As a center he would go on to start 12 games as a true freshman. For the next two years he would move to RT and start in 25 consecutive games. In the Eagles power-heavy offense, he saw a lot work as a moving chess piece, leading the way for the ball carriers. Boston College recently added a new head coach and offensive line coach, so for the 2020 season Petrula will likely see new responsibilities.
– Stout anchor. Holds up well against power rushers
– Strong grip lets him hold onto defenders for a good amount of time in pass protection
– Looks to finish every block
– Motor is consistent. Rarely takes a play off and will put maximum effort on each down
– Accurate punches help him win reps with good initial contact
– Gets to the second level quickly and efficiently
Areas to improve:
– Poor length allows defenders to get in close and dismantle his hand placement
– His hands, footwork and lateral agility are all very slow
– Poor second level blocker in space due to lackluster athleticism and awareness
– Unable to efficiently look for work when left free
– Slow to open up hips allowing easy access to the QB with inside moves
– Kick slides in pass protection are lethargic
– Punches lack power to stun defenders at the line
Although he has spent time at all three positions, Petrula does not ideally fit at any as a starter at the next level. He lacks the time at center to be one long term and has spent no time at guard since high school. Right tackle is likely his best fit at the next level right now, but his ceiling at tackle is limited due to his poor technique and limited athleticism. He could see a switch to guard at some point early in his NFL career. Petrula will be a standard depth piece should a team decide to bring him in as a PFA.
What to watch in 2020:
Petrula needs to clean up his game as a whole. He lacks power in his punches, lateral agility to stop speed rushes and shows poor technique all around. He will have to focus on one aspect of his game and get that part to an NFL-caliber level where teams might have interest in him as a developmental guy. This is without mentioning that he will have two new coaches, which means he will likely have a completely new system to work with. Petrula has a long road ahead but has the work rate to possibly make a difference.