However, based on the reps the Ravens allocated at the position during the spring, it doesn’t seem as though Cleveland will be given a real chance.
The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec recently listed Cleveland as one of the players whose stock is down following the Ravens’ offseason program, and that was largely due to his lack of reps with the starters.
Instead, it was the likes of Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips who received the vast majority of the work with the first-team offense while Cleveland was relegated to backup duty.
That doesn’t exactly bode well for his chances to start Week 1.
Ben Cleveland probably won’t be the Ravens’ Week 1 starting left guard
A third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Ravens drafted Cleveland with the hope that he could earn the starting job coming out of training camp.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented him from climbing up the depth chart in the summer as a rookie, and Cleveland began the year as a backup. He would still go on to start four games as a result of injuries, although he didn’t make the impact the team hoped he would.
Still, there’s been optimism that Cleveland could take a leap forward in his second NFL season with the expectation that he would compete for the starting job again this summer.
It may still be early, but it certainly seems as though both Powers and Phillips are ahead of him on the depth chart. This doesn’t mean that Cleveland can’t outplay them this summer and perhaps even earn the starting job.
But it’s pretty clear that he has some ground to make up.
The left guard competition will once again be one of the most notable position battles this summer. Cleveland figures to be a part of said competition, but winning it might prove difficult.
If Ben Cleveland wants the opportunity to start Week 1, he’ll need to put together a strong summer. Right now, he’s working behind the proverbial eight-ball.