With a seemingly perpetual need on the offensive line, the Minnesota Vikings have made a move to address the position in the 2020 NFL Draft with the selection of a player that could be a long-term answer at tackle.
With the #58 in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings have selected offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland from Boise State University.
After taking a redshirt year in his first season in Boise, Cleveland quickly became a fixture in the Broncos’ offense. He started all 40 games of his college career for the Broncos, with all 40 of them coming at the left tackle spot. He was a standout in each of his final two years, garnering First-Team All-Mountain West honors in both 2018 and 2019.
One of the drafts best kept secrets until his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ezra Cleveland has been the model of consistency in the Broncos program. Starting all 40 games that he participated in, that type of consistency has also been displayed throughout his game. Many would argue that his development is still in its beginning stages and there are lots of teams that would like to challenge him in order to break ground on a new layer of his development. Projecting best in a zone scheme, he already has a firm grasp on the pass protecting aspect of playing the position. Needing to show a nastier demeanor as a run blocker, he still has some improvements to make in that area. The best aspect of Cleveland’s game though is his athleticism and poise. Both factors that will translate to the next level. The former Boise State blocker projects as a strong early Day 2 selection that will be a trial and error starter during the beginning stages of his career. If forced to start early, he will be a starter that learns on the fly, but those lessons learned will help him in the long run, which may lead to him becoming a dependable starter early on during his career.
The drafting of Cleveland could be what makes the Vikings follow through on their rumored desire to kick Riley Reiff inside to guard. Cleveland has the ability to start early and could make a nice long-term bookend with Brian O’Neill for the long term.
Welcome to Minnesota, Ezra Cleveland!