A Wichita native is expecting to hear his name called in the 2019 NFL Draft this week.
Ben Powers, a 2015 Kapaun Mount Carmel graduate, is one of the top offensive-line prospects in this year’s draft class at the guard position. He had a stellar three-year career as a starter at Oklahoma, where he blocked for two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, won 35 games and played in the College Football Playoff the past two seasons.
Power’s greatest honor came this past season when he starred on an offensive line that was awarded the Joe Moore trophy for the most outstanding line in college football. OU broke the single-season FBS record for yards per play (8.7), and the Sooners were the only team in the country to score at least 40 rushing touchdowns and 40 passing touchdowns.
Now Powers, a 6-foot-4, 307-pound guard, is a likely draft pick. The first round began Thursday evening in Nashville, Tenn., while the second and third rounds are set for Friday and the remaining four rounds Saturday. Powers has been projected as a mid-round prospect by most NFL mock-draft web sites.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve had this as a goal, and now I have that opportunity for my dreams to actually become a reality,” Powers told the Eagle. “That’s really special. It didn’t become a reality until maybe three years ago when I got to Oklahoma and started playing at a high level.”
Powers could join a growing list of Wichita-area players to reach the NFL, joining Bishop Carroll’s Blake Bell, Andale’s B.J. Finney, Hutchinson’s Geneo Grissom, South’s Davontae Harris, Hutchinson’s Ben Heeney, Circle’s Jordan Phillips, Maize’s Ryan Schraeder and South’s Kyle Wilson as active players.
Powers plans on watching the draft with family, close friends and past coaches in Wichita this weekend.
His former coach at Butler Community College, where Powers exploded onto the national scene after being overlooked in recruiting out of Kapaun, has marveled at Powers’ journey.
The blow-up doesn’t surprise Kapaun coach Dan Adelhardt, who watched Powers transform from just a big kid as a sophomore to the most dominant blocker he’s ever coached as a junior and senior.
“He went from somebody not ready for Friday nights to being a difference-maker on Friday nights in one offseason,” Adelhardt said. “He has some unbelievable genetics and he’s just a really big guy, but he’s got the drive and the passion to go with it. You match that together and that’s what makes Ben so special.
“I’m so proud to see him get a chance to fulfill this dream of his and do what I knew he could do.”
The second and third rounds on Friday will be televised on ESPN and the NFL Network starting at 6 p.m., while the final four rounds on Saturday are also televised on ESPN and NFL Network and begin at 11 a.m.