Ben Powers explains his unconventional path to Oklahoma
The NFL Draft watch party for Oklahoma offensive lineman Ben Powers in his Wichita home was small on Saturday with only close friends, family and past coaches there.
One of those close friends was Orlando Brown Jr., who blocked with Powers on the offensive line together at Oklahoma and is now a tackle in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens.
That last bit of information became relevant early Saturday afternoon when Powers’ phone began buzzing with a 410 area code.
“I asked him, ‘isn’t that Baltimore?’” Powers told the Eagle. “He just started going crazy.”
Sure enough, on the other line was Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, who informed Powers that Baltimore was going to select him with the No. 123 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Now it was Powers’ turn to yell in unison with Brown Jr.
“Man, it was a special, special experience,” Powers said. “It was just like, ‘Wow, this is such a surreal feeling.’ It’s so hard to explain. It’s like everything you worked for in your life has come to this moment and now you find out where your future is, where the start of your NFL career is going to be.”
Powers, a 6-foot-4, 307-pound guard, did not have a Division-I scholarship offer upon graduation from Kapaun Mount Carmel in 2015. After one season at Butler Community College, that changed.
He picked Oklahoma, where he became a three-year starter and a crucial piece on an offensive line that was considered the best in college football last season. In three years, Powers was a part of 35 victories and blocked for two Heisman Trophy winners and No. 1 NFL draft picks.
The Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said there is a lot to like about Powers as a downhill blocker in Baltimore’s scheme.
“He’s a physical, smart, tough, three-year starter at Oklahoma,” Hortiz said in a release on the Ravens’ official web site. “He’s a really dependable player.”
Baltimore carved out a run-first identity last season, finishing with a 10-6 record and winning the AFC North. That’s a perfect fit for Powers, considered an above-average run blocker.
Another positive is that the Ravens’ roster is stocked with OU players, as Powers is the fifth Sooner on the roster. He will join former teammates in Brown (tackle), Mark Andrews (tight end) and Marquise Brown (wide receiver).
There were four offensive linemen from OU that were drafted this year.
“That’s so awesome, it’s going to be really cool,” Powers said. “I already know some of the guys up there, so it’s going to make the transition a lot easier.”
Powers will stay in Wichita for the start of this week, then leave on Thursday for Baltimore for the rookie mini camp. He’ll return to Wichita at the end of the weekend, then go back to Baltimore on May 12.
“I’m excited to get up there and get this started,” Powers said.
Wichita native Bledsoe reaches agreement with Titans: Oklahoma defensive end Amani Bledsoe was not drafted on Saturday but did reach a free-agent agreement with the Tennessee Titans.
Bledsoe was born and raised in Wichita but moved to Lawrence for high school and became a highly-touted prospect at Lawrence High. He went on to play for OU, where Bledsoe became an honorable mention all-Big 12 pick this past season.