The Baltimore Ravens don’t have many spots up for grabs this summer, but one key position battle that’s still ongoing is the competition for the starting left guard job.
The assumption entering training camp was that the likes of Tyre Phillips, Ben Powers, and Ben Cleveland would all be competing for the job with some even believing that Cleveland was the early favorite.
However, as the weeks have gone on, the battle has seemed more like a two-player race than anything. And Cleveland isn’t one of those two players.
The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec provided an update on the position battle on Wednesday where he went into detail about how Cleveland has fallen behind Powers and Phillips.
"“Left guard has been a legitimate competition with Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips getting first-team reps throughout training camp. Ben Cleveland, a third-round pick in 2021, has seemingly never gotten himself into the mix for the job after he missed the first week of training camp because he couldn’t pass the conditioning test.”"
Ben Cleveland looks like a longshot to be the Ravens’ Week 1 left guard
As Zrebiec noted, Cleveland was forced to miss the first four practices of the summer after repeatedly failing the team’s notoriously challenging conditioning test. That set him behind the figurative eight ball to start camp and he hasn’t recovered since.
Instead, it’s been Phillips and Powers who have received the vast majority of first-team reps at left guard in practice. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman went as far as to call Powers the “frontrunner” for the starting job earlier this month.
However, don’t rule out Phillips just yet.
The former third-round pick was Baltimore’s starting left guard in Week 1 last season before a knee injury landed him on injured reserve. The Ravens are high on Phillips’ potential and his versatility should help him carve out a lengthy career in the NFL.
The team sees Phillips as the more athletic, less consistent option while Powers is the physically stronger, steadier choice. The wild card is, of course, Cleveland who hasn’t been able to find his footing since joining the Ravens.
The organization is still hopeful that Cleveland could eventually establish himself as their long-term starting left guard. They love his run-blocking ability and see him as a perfect fit for their offensive scheme.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, his time will likely have to wait. The battle for the left guard job is seemingly between Powers and Phillips.