ATHENS — Departing Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland is aiming at setting the record for the bench press in an NFL combine setting at the Bulldogs Pro Day on March 17.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 25, 2021
Cleveland told the Athens Banner-Herald he wants to break the record, which is currently 49 by Stephen Paea of Oregon State. He set the record back in 2011.
The NFL combine was canceled this year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Cleveland will be aiming for the mark behind the closed doors of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.
The 2021 NFL Draft takes place April 29-May 1.
Cleveland’s size and power are two of the greatest attributes he brings to the table for NFL teams evaluating offensive guards in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, who was formerly a scout for Super Bowl teams in Green Bay, New England and Seattle, explained that a man of Cleveland’s size and power is arriving in the NFL at the right time.
“Everyone is really looking to beef up on the inside and put bigger bodies in there that can hold up and protect the pocket,” Nagy told DawgNation. “I think a lot of it has to do with the shorter cornerbacks that are playing nowadays and you really have to protect the depth of that pocket.”
Cleveland showed well at the annual “beauty contest” at the Senior Bowl, where the players weigh in and get measured in front of NFL scouts and general managers: 6-foot-6 3/8, 354 pounds with a 79 1/8-inch wingspan, a 33-inch arm and hands that measured 9 3/4 inches from end of pinky, to end of thumb.
Cleveland, who overcame a fractured left fibula that occurred in the fourth game of the 2018 season, suffered a sprained ankle during the week of Senior Bowl practice and was not able to play in that annual all-star game.
UGA Players in 2021 NFL Draft