With the 94th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected Ben Cleveland. Cleveland is a massive offensive guard out of Georgia.
The Ravens added to a crowd of interior offensive linemen. This pick all but confirms that Bradley Bozeman will be moved from left guard to center. The Ravens saw Landon Dickerson, Josh Myers, and Creed Humphrey all get taken before they got to work in the third round.
While the Ravens have quite the competition for the offensive guard position opposite of Kevin Zeitler, Cleveland could be a plug-and-play starter. The third round has given the Ravens a couple of their most notable offensive linemen, Orlando Brown Jr. and Marshal Yanda. Cleveland looks like another day-two pick who can step right into the starting lineup.
To this point, Eric DeCosta has stayed put and has shown great discipline. What kind of grade do the Purple and Black get for this pick. Let’s go to the Ebony Bird Report Card.
BEN CLEVELANDOG, Georgia Bulldogs
Cleveland is built like an offensive tackle. The one thing that we learned during his time with the Georgia Bulldogs is that he fits the guard spot despite his 6’6″ frame that screams offensive tackle.
Cleveland came into the NFL Draft as a senior who got better throughout his collegiate career. Cleveland is a powerful run blocker who will fit right into the Ravens’ offense. According to a tweet by Pro Football Focus’s draft account, Cleveland has given up one sack in 741 snaps. That’s awesome.
With this move, the Ravens are beefing up the offensive line. All of the projected starters for the offensive line are comfortably over 300 pounds. Cleveland is listed at 357 pounds. He’s impossible to run through. If you’re going to beat Cleveland it isn’t going to be with a bull rush, you’re going to have to get around him.
At tackle, his lack of quickness hurts him. At guard, his tackle-like build closes up shop for pass rushers. At the very least, Cleveland should compete for a starting job as a rookie.
At this point in the draft, this was the best shot the Ravens had in finding a long-term starter for the offensive line. It wasn’t easy seeing Creed Humphrey go to the Kansas City Chiefs. It felt like the Chiefs were taking exactly what the Ravens needed right off the board.
Cleveland wasn’t the top player available on my board and there were a lot of different directions the Ravens could go. For example, Quincy Roche would have been a great pick if the Ravens wanted to get another pass rusher. Offensive line help was the most obvious path through. and this was the best lineman available.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens got a solid pick. The main thing to remember is that Cleveland was fairly dominant in the SEC. That’s about the best thing an offensive lineman can put on his resume in the NFL Draft process. This is both a safe pick and a promising pick all at the same time.
The Ravens have to get credit for balancing their attack of positions of need with draft value. Rashod Bateman was a steal. Oweh was drafted where he should have gone and it addressed the need at outside linebacker. Cleveland helps the offensive line and is a very sensible pick.