As the Baltimore Ravens look to improve their offensive line, one name fans have been keeping an eye on is rookie guard, Ben Cleveland. The Ravens selected Cleveland in the third round out of Georgia and he’s the favorite to win the left guard job when the season begins.
To this point, the Ravens offensive line hasn’t performed great, but in their defense, that’s to be expected when injuries occur.
The presumptive starting five haven’t had a great chance to gel together yet but even with the injuries, left guard is the biggest question mark on the Ravens’ offensive line.
As a result, Cleveland is one of the most-watched rookies on the team and it’s not surprising to see him listed as Baltimore’s biggest X-factor this year.
Per Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report had the following to say about the rookie guard.
"“This year’s 94th overall draft pick impressed throughout the entire offseason, though he had yet to officially secure a starting spot.Cleveland is a massive and physical blocker who should fit right into Baltimore’s offense, but he needs to show he’s prepared for a starting role.”"
The Ravens are hoping for a big rookie year from Ben Cleveland
It’s been a rough go for the offensive line so far, as all of the presumed starters have dealt with their fair share of injuries.
Ronnie Stanley is still recovering from ankle surgery, Bradley Bozeman was injured during Saturday’s game against the Saints, Kevin Zeitler battled a sprained foot, and Alejandro Villanueva has missed time this summer as well.
This isn’t great news for the Ravens obviously but there’s hope that this offensive line can continue to grind and create running lanes for both Lamar Jackson and the running backs on the roster.
Cleveland will be a big part of that.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman referred to the Georgia product as the best run-blocker in his class. High praise for the third-round pick.
The Ravens remain high on Cleveland and believe that he could be their next third-round offensive line steal. But he’ll still have to fend off the likes of Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips for the starting left guard job.
If he does, then he truly does have a chance to be the team’s X-factor in 2021.