Has good size and uses it well to get position. Shows decent knee bend, which allows him to get better leverage as a run blocker. Has a good powerful punch to jolt defender back and can be a physical run blocker. Has just enough athleticism to block on the second level and get the seal or pull and engulf defender.
Has poor feet and has trouble staying square against quicker defenders. Will lose his balance. Comes out high into his set and struggles to lock on in pass protection. Gives up ground to the bull rush because he is too tall. Lacks great pop and comes off the snap high as a run blocker, which limits how much push and leverage he can get. Has to gear up to deliver punch as a run blocker, which allows quicker defensive tackles that know how to get leverage to do so. Doesn't initiate contact with the linebacker when blocking on the second level. Not fluid in space and misses assignments when pulling and taking on linebackers at the second level.
Bender has the sort of height that starts to become a hindrance. It's sometimes weird how that works, where a 6-8 guy struggles, but a 6-7 guy does OK. If Bender can show better knee bend, and learn how to use his hands better, he can overcome his height issues. But he'll probably never overcome the athletic issues that coupled with his height make him limited at the next level. Started five games at strongside tackle as a freshman before a knee injury took him down. Came back as a sophomore and started 7 games at strongside guard. Held the spot the past two years and had 25 starts there. He was a 3rd round pick in the CFL draft last year by Calgary. Canada native from Alberta.
Bender could work in the NFL, but I think he should go north of the border and play in Canada first. He has tools, and you like the fact that if you can improve his technique and hand use, his size can be an asset as a run blocker. But I don't see a ton of upside early on for him for an NFL team to develop him. He's better off getting his feet wet in Canada, and then trying his hand in the pros down the road. I think as an NFL player, he can be an effective backup. But even with polish and development, good defensive tackles are still going to be effective against him. He really has to play with strong technique to overcome his limited athleticism and height. So the minute you can get him for extended periods of time in the starting lineup, he'll start to get exposed. He can add depth at guard, and should have the potential to work in either a man or zone blocking scheme. Right now, he's a better fit in the zone because he doesn't get as much push. But down the line as he improves his hands, he can become a better fit in the zone. But either way, he's a career backup that even if he develops is a poor man's Harvey Dahl.
Bender has some tools to get a look in Atlanta, but lacks upside to really be kept. He is perhaps good enough to make the practice squad, but he doesn't really bring much to the table that Garrett Reynolds already does. And Reynolds is a better athlete than Bender and has already had two years of development on him. The best thing he could hope for is landing on the practice squad for two years, and if Reynolds is gone after that point he can slide in and add depth. But doesn't have as much upside to be a starter as Reynolds does.
He's too much of a project to be worth drafting. He's good enough to get an undrafted offer, but with him already having a roster spot waiting for him in the CFL and waiting around for the CBA situation to get resolved, I'd be surprised if he's in an NFL camp this summer.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 2.0
Run Blocking: 2.5
Mean Streak: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.