The days following the draft are filled with tremendous hope and hype where fans and pundits like to predict and project big rookie seasons for every one. However, that is often not the case because making the jump from college to the pros can be steep and sometimes arduous one for first year players to make right away.
With that in mind, here’s the third in a series of articles that detail realistic year one expectations for each member of the Baltimore Ravens 2021 draft class.
OG Ben Cleveland
Round 3 No. 94 overall
The former Georgia Bulldog has the potential to have biggest immediate impact of any member of the entire class and that is not because he is literally the biggest from a height and weight standpoint. He is truly a mountain of a man with his well-built 6-foot-5 and 343 lb. frame that resembles Ser Gregor Clegane who was infamously went by ‘The Mountain’ in the iconic HBO series Game of Thrones.
As a rookie he will compete and is considered the early front-runner to win the starting left guard spot with Bradley Bozeman expected to slide over to return to natural position of center. Cleveland would not only bring more size and bulk to the interior of the Ravens starting offensive line but his is both a mauler in run game and a beast in pass protection.
Just a reminder that Ben Cleveland will steal your soul twice on the same play if you let him pic.twitter.com/AneK2hEQqr— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) May 3, 2021
According to Pro Football Focus, Cleveland allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits in 741 pass-blocking snaps during his four-year collegiate career. He hails from a powerhouse program in the SEC and attended the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, both are places where the Ravens like to shop for roster talent.
He’ll be competing with a pair of mid-round picks who he happens to share the same first name with in Ben Powers and Ben Bredeson for the a starting spot.
The Ravens won’t just hand the job over to the rookie but will give him every opportunity to earn in training camp. If he impresses enough in both practice and the preseason, he could secure it before the season opener.
Last year Tyre Phillips was considered a long-shot to beat out veteran D.J. Fluker for the starting right guard spot but surprisingly opened the season as a starter. If Cleveland emerges as the winner of the starting left guard competition, it wouldn’t be a surprise, it’d be what many expected.