The family of fourth-round pick Ben Powers didn’t root for the Ravens when he was growing up. Powers’ grandmother is from Pittsburgh. The entire Powers family pulled for the rival Steelers.
But that allegiance instantly changed once the Ravens called Powers’ name.
“Yup, in about 30 seconds,” Powers said. “All that Steelers stuff disappeared. They’ve got a lot of stuff in storage.”
Now Powers will be part of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, playing for the Baltimore team that his family will root for.
The physical 6-foot-4, 307-pound guard from Oklahoma is expected to compete for the starting job at left guard, among a group that could also includes James Hurst, Alex Lewis and Bradley Bozeman.
Whether Powers plays well enough to start right away, or earn significant playing time, is up to him. But when asked about competing for the starting job, he is not shying away from the possibility.
“I’m here for a reason,” Powers said. “That’s how I’m approaching it. I’m going to give it my best, day in and day out, and see what happens.”
There are a host of Ravens rookies with flashy nicknames like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Jaylon “Sack Daddy” Ferguson, Daylon “Mack Track” Mack, and Iman “Biggie” Marshall. Powers doesn’t have one, but perhaps people should call him “Dream Crusher”. Because at Big 12 Media Day last year, Powers gave a classic response when asked about his mentality playing offensive line.
“What motivates me is, I love taking a grown man’s dreams and crushing them,” Powers said.
Powers still owns that quote, but it’s part of his past. Now Powers is focusing this new opportunity, joining a Ravens offensive line where he must prove he’s good enough to make an immediate impact.
“I haven’t changed,” Powers said. “It’s always my philosophy. But now I need to earn the respect of my teammates. All that talk’s nice, but I’m coming into a new organization. I’ve got to prove myself with how I perform on the field. That’s what I’m worried about now.”
Powers didn’t have anything handed to him at Oklahoma. He wasn’t heavily recruited as a high school player in Wichita, Kan., and neither Kansas or Kansas State offered him a scholarship. Powers began his college career at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan., but after an outstanding freshman year there, he landed on Oklahoma’s radar and transferred.
With the Sooners, Powers became part of a dominant offensive line, one that also included Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. They became close friends, and Powers and Brown are extremely happy to be reunited after one year. When they aren’t training together, Powers and Brown spend plenty of time competing at XBox.
“I’m better, for sure,” Powers said. “You can ask him.”
When the Ravens drafted Powers, Brown was at Powers’ draft party making more noise than he was. For the past several weeks, Brown has been introducing Powers to the Baltimore area, as only the gregarious Brown can.
“It seems like Orlando knows, everybody,” Powers said smiling.
Powers’ reputation as a physical offensive lineman fits how the Ravens want to play. While the Ravens drafted swift playmakers like Marquise Brown, wide receiver Miles Boykin and running back Justice Hill, a physical running game will continue to be a major part of their offensive DNA.
“I think [he’s] a very intelligent, smart, tough, aggressive player,” Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said after the draft. “Again, fits our mentality. He’s a guy that will come in right away and compete with some of the other guys we have to start, I think, at left guard.”
Powers couldn’t be happier to be with Baltimore, to be teammates with Brown again, and to join another former Oklahoma teammate in Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. And after growing up a Steelers fan, he’s happy to be in the AFC North.
Now Powers wants to make the most of it.
“Clearly, they like something with the Oklahoma offense,” Powers said of the Ravens. “I’m excited, ready to work.”