Going into the 2009 football season, West Liberty State (West Virginia) offensive lineman Ben Staggs didn’t know what his future held. Now, some eight months later, he knows his future contains professional football, though the location is still yet to be determined.
But after April 24–the final day of the 2010 NFL Draft–Staggs will have much more clarity. The 2009 Gene Upshaw Award winner, given to the top Division II lineman in the country, has a received increased attention from a number of teams following an impressive showing at the East-West Shrine Game where he successfully held off the nation’s top defensive linemen.
As of late, he has been notified of his status on the draft board of a number of teams with some of his suitors including the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
Staggs has overcome a number of obstacles in order to position himself in the draft’s list of elite linemen. Despite being listed at 275 lbs. during the 2009 season, Staggs has adhered to a rigorous training regimen in preparation for his Pro Day workout and weighed in at just under 300 lbs.
He continues to put in tremendous effort this off-season both at West Liberty State and at high-profile training center TC Boost in Chicago to gain the necessary weight to play against NFL competition.
At TC Boost, Staggs was under the tutelage of highly touted performance trainers, most notably 11-year NFL veteran, Bob Christian, a fullback known for his tenacious blocking abilities. While in Chicago, Ben trained alongside fellow West Liberty All-American Derrick Evans and three 2010 NFL Scouting Combine invitees including Northwestern’s Corey Wootton.
Staggs’ training has clearly paid dividends in the strength department with the aforementioned weight gain, but also in the speed department where Staggs ran a 4.96 40-yard dash at the Marshall University Pro Day. His time would have been the third fastest 40-yard time of all the offensive line participants at the NFL Combine.
With a time like that and all the accolades that came his way this past season, it is easy to see why Staggs is the 2010 draft sleeper among offensive linemen. When the final rounds of the NFL Draft get underway on April 24, there is a good shot that Staggs will hear his name called. Though Staggs’ next location is unclear, his profession is not.