The New Orleans Saints have shocked the bulk of their fanbase, taking Michigan center Cesar Ruiz with the 24th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Patrick Queen fell to the New Orleans Saints at No. 24, but he wasn’t the pick. Cesar Ruiz, a versatile center who also started at guard for the Michigan Wolverines, was the player New Orleans opted to take.
Ruiz viewed himself as a first-round pick, but it certainly didn’t sit well with the Saints’ diehard fanbase as many were confused as to why the team would load up on a center after taking one in the second round last season.
Well, it’s more for the future. It must be thought of that way.
The team needed depth, and they didn’t necessarily need a linebacker or cornerback more than they needed to bring in a player to backup Andrus Peat or Larry Warford. Also, the team now can easily deal Warford or Nick Easton to trade up in the draft if need be.
Although they signed Peat for the next half a decade, Warford, a starting guard for the Saints, will be a free agent after this coming season. That could be one reason why Ruiz was the Saints’ first-round pick.
As for Ruiz, at the combine, he ran a 5.06 40-yard dash, put up 28 reps on the bench press, and managed a 7.91 three-cone drill. He’s agile, and he can move well, something he proved multiple times at one of the top Big Ten programs in the nation.
According to NFL.com, Ruiz secured a 6.4 prospect grade. That put in the tier to be a starter within his first two seasons. For the Saints, that’s exactly what they’re expecting him to come in and become.
At the end of the day, many thought the team wanted Patrick Queen. Mock drafts said Patrick Queen. The fact that the bulk of the linebackers will hit the open market after this season was just another reason for Queen.
However, the Saints may be confident they’ll bring some of them back and potentially allow Warford to leave. Who knows what they have in mind, but we know that trusting Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton has hardly ever lead the team astray.