Across the board, the Baltimore Ravens have one of the deepest teams that they’ve had in years. They have multiple solid players at every position, and that combined with their star power results in an extremely talented and dangerous roster.
There are many players who will be relied upon by the team to make massive impacts during the 2021 season. It isn’t just up to the stars to carry the load, but others as well. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report named his biggest X-Factor for each team heading into the 2021 season, and for Baltimore he chose rookie offensive lineman Ben Cleveland. He explained that the Ravens’ offensive line performed poorly against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 of the 2021 preseason, but also made sure to mention that most of their projected starting group was unavailable for the game.
“…The Ravens didn’t have their complete starting front intact for the contest, which leads to another problem—the projected starting five has yet to practice together. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley continues to recover from last season’s ankle injury. Right guard Kevin Zeitler has a sprained foot. Right tackle Alejandro Villanueva missed some practice time. Center Bradley Bozeman suffered an ankle injury during Saturday’s contest. Left guard, though, remains the biggest question mark of them all.”
Sobleski talked about how Cleveland is a great scheme fit for Baltimore’s offense, but needs to first show he can be trusted as a starter.
“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.”
Cleveland had missed the last handful of practices and the game against New Orleans with a concussion, but returned to practice on Wednesday. It’s important that he gets snaps in the preseason to get familiar with the NFL game and show what he can do against professional competition. If he can do enough to fend off the other players competing with him for the starting left guard job and play well during the regular season in that role assuming he gets it, Cleveland could be a huge factor in how well the Ravens’ offense performs during the 2021 season.