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Harbaugh says ‘it’s going to be quite a fight’ for the starting left guard spot

The Ravens have a hearty competition for the starting left guard spot

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

For a second-straight offseason, the Ravens’ most notable starting competition sits at left guard. Last season, the position was won by Ben Powers, who became one of the NFL’s best pass-blocking guards before promptly signing with the Denver Broncos in the offseason. This season, there’s a hearty competition, which according to Head Coach John Harbaugh includes sophomore offensive lineman Daniel Faalele.

“I think we’re going to try to give [Faalele] every opportunity to see kind of where he flashes. Right now is a great time,” Harbaugh said. “I want to see what he looked like before we got out of the mini camp and the OTAs at left guard and he looked good. He could stay a little more square, things like that but his feet look good, his hands look good, he’s able to punch quickly with his hands and react pretty quickly in there. So, I wouldn’t rule him out as a potential left guard.”

The competition also includes John Simpson and rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu.

“[I] would also say that John Simpson’s done a great job in there,” Harbaugh said. “Then Sala’s doing a nice job in there. You might have noticed that. He looks good in there so it’s going to be quite a fight for that spot.”

It also sounds like Ben Cleveland is competing at left guard, but he’s getting worked in at other spots as the team searches for ways to get the 6-foot-6, 370-pound Cleveland involved.

“Ben Cleveland has been working both sides but we got him right tackle now,” Harbaugh said.

But competition will have to wait until training camp, as Harbaugh noted it’s not so much about competition right now as it is about the players’ work ethic. And until then, the players will be locking down their assignments and heading into mandatory minicamp next week.