Ben Cleveland - IOL, Georgia
By the numbers:
6'6", 354 pounds per Senior Bowl measurements. Listed at 335 pounds on the team's website.
2020: All-SEC First Team selection.
Georgia guard Ben Cleveland has a great blend of size and strength. In fact, he may be the strongest lineman in this year's draft class. He has no problem setting and resetting his anchor in pass protection, as well as paving the way for the ballcarrier in the run game. Cleveland is a huge player who uses his mass to his advantage. He's an immovable object.
Cleveland's football IQ and motor are both great. He identifies stunts, twists and different exotic blitzes at the line of scrimmage and has a quick processor. Despite being just over 350 pounds, he still manages to stay refreshed and maintain a competitive chip throughout the entirety of the game. Cleveland works until the whistle blows and displays impressive and consistent effort in all facets.
Given that he's such a massive player, Cleveland is a pretty average athlete. He moves relatively well for his size, but struggles in space and takes poor angles at the second level. His quality first step and evident conditioning make him a willing mover, although his effectiveness in those situations leaves some to be desired. Teams need to know they aren't getting someone who's going to fly around the field.
Cleveland's hand placement is a work-in-progress, albeit much better than it was even a year ago. He's developing some accuracy there, but the deficiency really shows up downfield. He has the wits and reaction time to turn this into a strength, which will dictate how his career unfolds. Cleveland rises up on occasion, which isn't surprising for someone as big as him. Maintaining a low pad level is paramount.
How Cleveland fits with the Chiefs:
The Chiefs are slated to return Laurent Duvernay-Tardif to the team in 2021, which will be a major boost to the offensive line. With that said, relying on him to return to form is risky. Adding more guard depth is key, and that's what Cleveland would provide. With that said, he is much better suited to play in a power-run scheme with gap principles. He wouldn't be a liability in a zone-style offense like the Chiefs', but his hand usage would have to improve quite a bit in order to be effective in space.
Cleveland is a mean guard with strength for days. He's like the guy who operates the show plow in the winter: When things are timed correctly, he's greatly effective. His limited athleticism does place a cap on his overall ceiling, though. He may provide more value to teams that operate power-heavy running games, but he's a developmental piece either way. Cleveland grades out as a fourth-round pick with starting potential if things go as planned.