1. Cesar Ruiz
The most disappointing player on the Saints’ roster in 2021 was none other than former first-round pick Cesar Ruiz, another member of the infamous 2020 draft class. Ruiz jumped between center and right guard and didn’t play well at either spot. The guy was just comically bad in 2021 and even though he’s only entering year three, he might be fighting for his starting job this season.
The former Michigan product was brought in to help stabilize the Saints’ once-stout offensive line but injuries to the starting unit definitely showed Ruiz’s shortcomings. He was the only original starter to remain healthy throughout the season but that ended up not being a good thing.
Per Pro Football Focus, Ruiz finished the season with a 57.6 grade and surrendered five sacks on the year. That’s not first-round material.
If Ruiz doesn’t show what made him a first-round pick this season, he won’t be in New Orleans much longer. This is a very important year for Ruiz.
These three players are entering make-or-break years. Davenport’s situation is different from Trautman’s and Ruiz’s, as he’s shown he can be a difference-maker. For him, this upcoming season is about remaining consistent and healthy to land a big-time contract next offseason.
For Trautman and Ruiz, they need to show that they belong as starters in the NFL. This season could be their last opportunity to prove just that.