ColtPower has confirmed that Indiana defensive end/linebacker Ben Ishola is
visiting with the Colts today.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Ishola tried out for NFL Europe but was
encouraged to consider college football as his ticket into the NFL instead.
Ishola enrolled at Indiana and rapidly developed skills that surpassed many
players around him who had been playing the game most of their lives.
The 6-foot-three, 250-pound defender wasn't invited to the Combine, but
following an eye-popping Pro Day, teams are now scrambling to figure out how
Ishola was overlooked. He was clocked by some scouts in the 4.4's up to no higher
than 4.51, put up 30 reps on the bench press, and did a 10-foot-1 broad jump.
After scouts went back and saw that he had the film to support his athleticism,
the phone started ringing.
Brad Leshnock and Joe Flanagan, Ishola's agents at BTI Sports Advisors, had
to work diligently to get all the visits and workouts coordinated within a tight
time frame. Ishola has made three visits this week alone, including his stop in
Indianapolis to visit with the Colts.
One of Ishola's big draws is his versatility in addition to his readily
apparent athleticism. "He's a productive guy who can play standing up or
with his hand on the ground," Flanagan told us this week. "He's got
upfield speed as a defensive end, good lateral quickness, obvious power, and
very strong hands."
Flanagan pointed out that with more teams using hybrid defenses, players like
Ishola become more valuable because he can legitimately play four to five spots.
"And it's amazing how many teams are looking at him at different
spots," Flanagan added.
Ishola is the type of player who matches up well with Indianapolis when you
consider the Cover 2 defensive scheme that Tony Dungy runs. And the Colts have
shown that they like to use players on their defensive line who are capable of
rotating in to different positions in different situations. They also have a
need to infuse some additional talent into their linebacker corps.
"Ben Ishola is a good fit for the Colts because he's versatile and has a
high level of athleticism," Flanagan said. "You look at what the Colts
have done historically, they've thought outside of the box using speed,
quickness and athleticism to their defense's advantage.
"You look at what they get out of their players, and while some of the
standard issue measurables from a size, height, and weight factor don't add up,
the athleticism is where the Colts seem to focus. And Ben is one of the most
athletic people in this draft."
Ishola has only been playing football for four years even though he's 26
years old. And while that relative inexperience could be a drawback in some
jobs, it's a plus to many NFL clubs who are looking for upside and potential in
"He's still learning football, and to see what he's been able to do
against Ohio State-caliber linemen and to see him test as well as he has is a
testament to his raw athleticism. The vast majority of teams look at his
experience level versus the results he's already accomplished as a positive,
because they can see that there's still a lot of player to unearth with Ben
Ishola," Flanagan explained.
And as a result, fans in Indianapolis or whatever city that Ben Ishola lands
in may be a bit surprised when they hear Ishola's name called on draft weekend.
But they shouldn't be.
"He's one of those guys who will probably be drafted way earlier than
the public believes," Flanagan said. "But his name is running rampant
in NFL circles right now."