Image Credit: Michigan Athletics
With the 24th pick in the NFL Draft, the Saints selected Michigan interior offensive linemen Cesar Ruiz.
Seeing most of his time at center, Ruiz made 31 career starts for Michigan. A two-time All-Big 10 honoree, Ruiz ranked as the best pass blocking center in the nation by Pro Football Focus in 2019.
Cesar Ruiz best projects as a center at the next level but his versatility is likely intriguing for some teams. Ruiz made 5 starts at right guard and 26 starts at center. At 6-4, 319 pounds, Ruiz is a very powerful offensive guard fits into any interior line position. Despite the size, Ruiz is still athletic for the position, presenting a rare breed. Though Ruiz could use to drop some unnecessary weight, the frame and athleticism increases his ceiling.
Ruiz will likely have to improve when it comes to his pass protection timing, but Ruiz is likely an immediate starter in the NFL.
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What the Analysts Say
His strong hands and superior ability to latch on to win quick in a phone booth makes him a better fit in a man/power-based blocking scheme, but there’s an argument that can be made that he’s scheme proof and can play in any type. Ruiz projects as a top-40 selection, who should go on to be a starter very quickly during his career and go on to have a long lasting career at either guard or center. –Jordan Reid, The Draft Network
Athletic and tenacious with the combination of skills and technique to fit into a variety of blocking schemes on the next level. Ruiz wins early with initial quickness and fast hands into first contact. He works to convert early advantages into wins. –Lance Zierlein, NFL Network
The Saints bolster their offensive line in an effort to keep veteran quarterback Drew Brees upright. Ruiz joins a strong cast of Saints offensive linemen and is a good spot for the New Jersey native. The development he’ll receive in New Orleans makes this a strong pick for the Saints.