COLLEGEVILLE -- There will be a central Minnesota connection during this month's NFL Draft.

Ben Bartch is an Oregon native, but wrapped up his college football career at St. John's University this past fall.

Since the season ended, Bartch has been going through the NFL Draft process. He says it's been an exciting journey from his participation in the Senior Bowl to working out at the NFL Combine.

It was terrific to take it in and really live it and soak in the experience. I learned a lot from different coaches and NFL staff.

Bartch has been rising up the draft boards after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. NFL projections have him going anywhere between the 2nd-4th round of the draft.

He says the COVID-19 situation has thrown a wrinkle in how the interview process has gone with NFL teams.

Traditionally coaches were going to be coming out and working me out at St. John's, but now it's all ZOOM calls. I've had countless conversations with organizations just watching film, talking football and just getting to know each other.

Bartch says he doesn't care what team he gets drafted to, he's just looking forward to the opportunity to hopefully have a long playing career.

He says he's grateful for his time at St. John's and the people who have helped him get to this stage.

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 23rd-25th.

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