JACKSONVILLE – His story is unusual, as was his journey.
But know this about Ben Bartch:
He has starting potential in the NFL, and the former Division III offensive lineman is a player who will do what it takes to fulfill it.
"As long as I'm playing O-Line and get to block, I'm a pretty happy camper," Bartch said.
Bartch, an offensive tackle from small-school perennial power St. John's in Minnesota, spoke to the Jacksonville media Saturday shortly after the Jaguars made him the 10th selection of the Round 4 of the 2020 NFL Draft – the No. 116 selection overall.
Jaguars Director of College Scouting Mark Ellenz said the Jaguars consider Bartch a player who still "has a lot of upside."
"He played very well and held his own at the Senior Bowl, and it wasn't too big for him," Ellenz said. "We think we got a lot of value in this kid and a lot of ability to grow.
"The kid is highly committed. He wants to play in the NFL and has a passion about it. He's going to do whatever it takes. Those are the types of guys we like."
Bartch (6-feet-6, 309 pounds), who also attended the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, also talked about the Senior Bowl on his videoconference – as well as speaking about the excitement of getting a chance to play both guard and tackle in the NFL.
But mostly he talked about being "The Smoothie King."
Bartch made headlines during the Combine discussing the shake/concoction he used to add weight in college as he transitioned from tight end early in his career to offensive tackle in recent seasons. It was a mix that included seven eggs, a carton of cottage cheese, grits, peanut butter, bananas and Gatorade.
It worked. He started at 220 pounds and said he reached 306.
"It was a fully functional thing," Bartch said Saturday. "I wasn't doing it for attention. I didn't realize it was going to blow up. It was just a tool I used in my regime for putting on mass. I wanted really good proteins and to be smart about it. I didn't want to get fat. I ate clean the rest of the day. That was my big-calorie shake."
Bartch, after catching four passes as a sophomore, started at left tackle the final 27 games of his college career. Ellenz said the Jaguars will work him at guard and tackle to start his NFL career.
"He's progressively put that weight on," Ellenz said. "He played Division III football, but it's a very good program that they're in. But the athleticism we really liked. The kid's a really smart kid and he's competitive. He checked off a lot of the intangibles, plus the tangibles."
Ellenz added, "It might be a little time, but in the end, I think he can be a starting player here."
Bartch was a first-team All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association selection in 2019 and a second-team pick in 2018. He said of playing in the Senior Bowl as a Division III player: "It was a huge week for me, definitely a proving week.
"But I walked in like if I was just as good if not better than some of the other guys," he said. "I think that's a good attitude to have. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot."