Ezra Cleveland | OT | Boise State
You’d be hard pressed to find an offensive linemen that did his draft stock a bigger favor at the combine than Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland did. His 3-cone time of 7.26 was the best time among all O-linemen, as was his 4.46 short-shuttle result. Cleveland actually told me that he was disappointed by that time, because he was consistently running in the 4.2’s in training. That is truly incredible. He also put up an excellent time of 4.93 in the 40-yard dash, and showed off better-than-expected strength with 30 bench press reps.
Cleveland already had a fair amount of buzz before the combine, and it’s easy to understand why. While his athletic testing results were fantastic, they didn’t come as a big surprise to those of us who watched him play throughout the year. His athleticism immediately jumps off the screen.
Cleveland has a quick first step off the snap that allows him to compete with even the speediest of edge rushers. Boise State asked him to use his athletic ability to reach the second level and Cleveland did some of his best work when blocking in space. Boise State ran a lot of outside zone and I believe that a zone blocking scheme would make the most sense for him at the next level as well.
Despite the impressive result in the bench press, strength is not a trait that Cleveland can hang his hat on. At least it doesn’t appear so on tape. His game is all about his athletic ability, and mobility. You worry about his ability to move people at the next level in the run game, and whether or not he has enough strength to handle the powerful bull rushes he’ll likely see a lot of at the next level.
Does he fit the Titans?
It’ll be interesting to see how high Cleveland gets drafted after his incredible combine. He was already squarely on the top-60 radar prior to the combine, and could now be in the first round conversation. In theory, I think Cleveland makes sense as a good fit for the Titans and their zone blocking scheme. However, the re-signing of Dennis Kelly and free agency addition of veteran swing tackle Ty Sambrailo leads me to believe that the Titans may not be targeting an offensive tackle in the first or second round of this draft. I wouldn’t completely rule it out, and I do expect them to add a tackle at some point, but Cleveland will likely be long gone off the board by then.