With a 3-3 record entering Week 7, the Baltimore Ravens seem more likely to be buyers as opposed to sellers at this year’s NFL trade deadline. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still offload some players for future draft picks.
One such player is second-year guard Ben Cleveland. The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec recently predicted one player the Ravens could look to trade away prior to the deadline and his prediction was Cleveland.
A third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Cleveland has failed to carve out a role on this Ravens roster despite being given ample opportunities to earn the starting left guard job.
Injuries and inconsistencies have plagued Cleveland to this point, and at this stage, a change of scenery might be best for both parties. That’s the argument Zrebiec made.
"“Cleveland never mounted a challenge this summer for the starting left guard job, and his struggles to stay healthy and practice consistently well have been sources of frustration for the organization. Cleveland isn’t going to generate a significant return, but an offensive line-needy team could at least be intrigued by his size and upside”"
Don’t be surprised if the Ravens trade Ben Cleveland
The Ravens hoped that Cleveland could compete for and eventually take over the starting left guard job when he was drafted last year. The former Georgia standout seemed like an excellent fit as a road-grader in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense, but he never found his footing.
Injuries limited Cleveland to just four starts in his rookie season as the Ravens instead relied on the likes of Tyre Phillips and Ben Powers. Cleveland entered the 2022 season again looking to secure the starting job, but he found himself behind the eight ball almost immediately.
The 24-year-old repeatedly failed the Ravens’ notoriously challenging conditioning test this summer and quickly ended up buried on the depth chart behind Powers and Phillips.
Even after Phillips was surprisingly released, Powers was the beneficiary. And with Powers putting together the best season of his career, it’s hard to see a long-term future for Cleveland on the team
It’s far from a guarantee that the Ravens do decide to move Cleveland, especially given the importance of offensive line depth. But if some offensive line-needy team comes calling with an attractive enough offer, don’t be surprised if general manager Eric DeCosta pulls the trigger.
The Ravens still have some hope for Cleveland, especially with Powers in the final year of his contract. But as the weeks go by, his future in Baltimore seems all the more cloudy.
If the Ravens shop any player at the deadline this year, Ben Cleveland makes plenty of sense.