EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings checked another box off their 2020 wish list and bolstered their offensive line room with the second-round selection of Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland Friday night.
Cleveland started all 13 games at left tackle for the Broncos in 2019 and received First-Team All-Mountain West honors for the second consecutive year.
Here are five things to know about Minnesota's newest offensive lineman:
1. Boise State brotherhood
Cleveland will be welcomed by a familiar face inside the Vikings locker room.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota's third-round draft pick in 2019, played with Cleveland at Boise State in 2017 and 2018. Over those two seasons, Cleveland helped Mattison rush for 2,501 yards and 29 touchdowns.
When the Vikings tabbed Cleveland at No. 58, Mattison took to social media to express his excitement about reuniting with his former teammate:
2. Showed his speed
Cleveland garnered attention at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where he turned on the jets in the 40-yard dash.
The big man clocked in at 4.93 seconds, good enough for third-fastest among offensive linemen in Indy.
Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson said Cleveland's speed will help his ability to get to the perimeter for Minnesota.
"You watch the tape, first of all, and you see with your own eyes what you think he can do in our type of offense," Stephenson said. "But definitely when you get to the combine and he blows it out like he did, it just kind of re-emphasizes what you saw on tape, and you feel good about it."
3. Terror in the trenches
Cleveland hails from Spanaway, Washington, where he attended Bethel High School and was named Bethel's defensive player of the year after racking up 41 tackles and 4.0 sacks as a senior. He also earned Lineman of the Year honors in his conference after being named a first-team all-area defensive lineman. When Cleveland got to Boise State, he switched sides of the line of scrimmage as a redshirt.
Other notable alumni from Bethel include former defensive end Caesar Rayford, who spent training camp with the Vikings in 2015.
4. All-around athlete
In addition to excelling on the football field, Cleveland also played baseball and wrestled at Bethel.
The Vikings have been known to grab players with wrestling backgrounds, including Mattison and 2017 draft picks Pat Elflein and Jaleel Johnson.
"That wrestling background, I don't think a lot of people might know how great it is for your balance, your grip strength and all those different parts that play a role in being a pretty well-rounded football player," Mattison told media members via video conference Friday.
5. Big man from the beginning
According to the ESPN/NFL Network broadcast, Cleveland showed his size from an early age.
Despite being born three weeks premature, Cleveland weighed 11 pounds at birth.
He was only 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds as a high school freshman but hit another spurt that's gotten him to his current state.
View photos of Boise State T Ezra Cleveland who was selected by the Vikings in the second round of the NFL Draft.