Vikings bolster OL with Ezra Cleveland in 2nd round

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The Minnesota Vikings selected offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland out of Boise State in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, No. 58 overall.

Cleveland is an athletic tackle who was rumored to have received first-round interest. He was named a first-team All-Mountain West selection in each of the last two seasons.

Minnesota started Riley Reiff and Brian O'Neill at tackle in 2019 but wanted to upgrade Kirk Cousins' pass protection. Cleveland could compete with O'Neill on the right side as a rookie.

Prospect Profile

School: Boise State
Height: 6-6
Weight: 311 lbs

Positives

  • Impressive athletic profile
  • Projectable size with room to add more mass
  • Good quickness out of stance on run and pass blocks
  • Smooth and efficient footwork into pass sets
  • Good lateral agility to mirror pass-rushers
  • Resets hands well in pass protection to battle through rep
  • Movement ability to establish lateral position on difficult zone blocks
  • Climbs well to the second level and effective in space

Negatives

  • Severely lacking in play strength throughout frame
  • Doesn't have strong punch - poor timing lets defender inside his frame
  • Subpar base strength creates difficulty anchoring vs. power
  • Struggles to create movement on drive blocks in running game
  • Need for added size/strength requires patience

Bottom Line

Cleveland is a high-upside offensive lineman who will be coveted largely due to his athleticism. His movement ability in all phases makes him a strong fit for a zone-blocking scheme, and he has a good chance to become a solid starter at either tackle spot. It could be a year or two before he is able to realize that potential, though, as he'll have to get the most out of his new team's strength program first. Currently lacking the power to move opponents off the ball in the run game or anchor against a bull rush, Cleveland needs time to develop before he can be relied upon to take on NFL edge defenders.

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Vikings bolster OL with Ezra Cleveland in 2nd round
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