Ravens Offensive Lineman Has Gone From Underdog to Powers-house

G Ben Powers

It was third-and-3 and the Ravens needed one first down to seal a win in Pittsburgh.

The call came in with a Gus Edwards run behind pulling left guard Ben Powers. Powers' thoughts in the huddle?

"I'm excited, instantly," Powers said. "Let's go, let's get it. It's time to go. Let's put these boys away."

Powers kicked out Steelers outside linebacker Robert Spillane and Edwards drove through the gap between Powers and fullback Pat Ricard for a 6-yard gain. Ballgame.

Powers has gone from a question mark to even make the 53-man roster at the start of the season to a key piece of Baltimore's ground-and-pound attack. And his underdog story goes back further than that.

Baltimore is tied for second in the league with 162.2 yards per game thanks in part to Powers' crushing pulling (and other) blocks. Powers is also currently the highest-graded guard in the league in pass blocking, per Pro Football Focus, having allowed just one hit and no sacks in 440 pass blocking reps.

"[He's playing] incredibly consistent football," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Play after play, week after week, he's been playing at a very high standard, very consistently well. You kind of know what you're going to get, and it's going to be very good football."

When training camp began, the toughest starting job to predict was left guard. Powers was part of a three-way competition with fellow mid-round picks Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips. Cleveland has the advantage in sheer size. Phillips was the nimblest of all three. Entering his fourth season, Powers had the most experience, but it was a wide-open battle.

Last season, Phillips won the left guard spot out of training camp. When he suffered a knee injury in the season-opener, Powers took over and started the next 12 games. However, when Cleveland got healthy and more experienced by the end of the year, the rookie stepped into the starting lineup.

Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Powers knew he had to establish himself. This offseason, he started his training regiment early, just a couple weeks after the season ended.

"Every day, you have to come with the approach that, 'I've got to get better, I've got to grow. Take it day by day and week by week and just grow and develop into the player you want to be,'" Powers said.

Powers not only won the job to start the year, he's since put it in a vice grip similar to some of his blocks.

"There was a lot of people who didn't think he would be the starter. We had a lot of other guys competing and I don't think anyone really thought in the end he would be it," right guard Kevin Zeitler said. "Honestly, he just showed up every single day, worked, and got better. That mental fortitude has allowed him to take off.

"Mentally, he's able to handle everything and do everything that's asked of him no matter what. I think his consistency won everyone over. I am so happy for him."

Powers is used to defying the odds. He received zero college scholarship offers coming out of Wichita, Kansas. He didn't even get an invitation to be a preferred walk-on at Kansas State. Powers went to Butler Community College instead, and after just four months, he had caught Oklahoma's attention.

Powers transferred and took over the starting job just a few weeks into his first season. He went on to become a first-team consensus All-American in 2018 and blocked for two Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. The Ravens drafted him in the fourth round.

"My whole career, I've been getting my opportunity through the mud. I'm an underdog and I love it," Powers said. "I love coming when no one is expecting it and grabbing it and succeeding. It's something I take pride in."

Powers also takes pride in the way the Ravens are running the ball. They piled up 215 rushing yards in Pittsburgh despite being down to the No. 3 quarterback and everybody knowing the Ravens were going to run the ball. That kind of physical beating is what Powers thrives on.

"When the running game gets going, the game gets really fun," Powers said, adding that he loves pulling because it puts him at the point of attack.

"I feel that the fourth quarter, our running game is at its best. That has everything to do with [the defense] taking three quarters of it. At that point, it's time to finish it and put them away."

Related Content