With the NFL cutdown day looming next Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders will be scrounging the league’s transaction wire and picking up the phone to see if any bubble players on other teams are available via trade. One player who fits a need for the Raiders and could be looking for a new home is Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ben Cleveland.
Recently, NFL Media’s Eric Edholm listed Cleveland as a potential cut candidate and had this to say about the third-year pro:
Cleveland has started a handful of games for the Ravens, but the light has never fully remained on for the 2021 third-round pick, who turns 25 this week. During camp, he was tried out at right tackle, giving Cleveland the opportunity to make the roster as a versatile backup. But he also has been seen working with the second- and third-team offenses quite a bit and could be squeezed out of a spot.
Edholm also noted that the Ravens typically don’t like to cut recent draft picks and might look to trade the Georgia product, but either way, it sounds like his days in Baltimore are numbered.
Why would the Raiders kick the tires on Cleveland? Well, not only could they use depth at guard, but they’re also looking for a starter.
Greg Van Roten appears to have won the job over last year’s first-stringer Alex Bars, who was pretty bad last season, but Van Roten is a 33-year-old NFL journeyman who only made four starts for the Buffalo Bills in 2022. Also, he’s on a one-year deal while the Raiders could get Cleveland for the last two years of his rookie contract if they trade for him.
Netane Muti is projected to be the first guard off the bench, but he doesn’t have that spot locked down after struggling against the Los Angeles Rams last week. While McClendon Curtis is an option as well, he’s barely played during the preseason with 15 total snaps in the team’s two games so it seems like he’s destined for the practice squad.
Also, Cleveland would be a good fit in Las Vegas’ offense. Last season, the Raiders called gap runs on nearly 70 percent of their total rushing attempts, according to Pro Football Focus, and that’s where the 6’7”, 370-pound offensive lineman is at his best. At Georgia, he put that size to good use and was a people mover in the ground game as a devastating down blocker.
The former Bulldog wasn’t known for being nimble on his feet in college, making pass protection a weakness for him. However, he has been solid in that area of his game with 11 pressures surrendered on 276 opportunities as a pro during the regular season, per PFF. That is a smaller sample size but he’s only given up three pressures on 56 opportunities this preseason, so he’s at least putting up some respectable numbers as a pass-blocker.
Cleveland also has the look of a typical Raiders offensive lineman with his barrel chest and big beard. Does that mean much in the grand scheme of things? Not really, but at least we know he’d look good in the Silver and Black!
I’d imagine the Ravens would be willing to part with him for a sixth- or seventh-round pick. So, what say you, should Las Vegas make a move if Cleveland is available?
Should the Raiders add Ben Cleveland?
This poll is closed
Yes, trade or waiver wire
Yes, but only on waiver wire (no trade)
No, stick with who they’ve got