ATHENS — Several former Georgia players will hear their name called in the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday. DawgNation will profile potential UGA draftees leading up to the NFL selection process as a part of our Dawgs in the Draft series. Today’s entry will focus on Ben Cleveland.
Ben Cleveland has NFL Prototype size
Cleveland suffered a sprained ankle during the Senior Bowl week of practice in Mobile, Ala., but not before he impressed NFL scouts in his limited work and at something called the “Underwear Olympics.” NFL head coaches, general managers, and scouts swarm Senior Bowl week and many of them show up for weigh-ins, where prospects are weighed and measured, often wearing little more than shorts. Cleveland was among the more imposing at 6-foot-6 1/2 and 354 pounds at that time, though his arms were viewed on the short side at 33 inches, part of why he’s not as ideal for pass blocking as interior blocking.
Ben Cleveland has great athleticism
Cleveland was a standout baseball player growing up and even managed to steal a few bases after hitting the 300-pound mark, but where his athleticism really resonated with NFL scouts as Georgia football Pro Day. Cleveland ran shirtless, showing off his physique, but more impressive he turned the 40-yard dash in an astonishingly low 4.85 seconds after weighing in at 343 pounds earlier in the day. Senior Bowl executive director and former NFL scout Jim Nagy explained there’s typically a correlation between fast 40 times and longer tenures in the NFL for linemen, a good sign for Cleveland.
Ben Cleveland overcame a fractured fibula in 2018
Cleveland’s toughness and dedication to his team cannot be disputed, as he returned the same season just six weeks after suffering a fractured left fibula in the fourth game of the 2018 campaign. Cleveland is also known as a locker room leader, his sense of humor and warm disposition making him popular with coaches and teammates alike.