The interior of the Baltimore Ravens offensive line could use some reinforcements and Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz is a plug-and-play starter they could target.
Michigan has had some quality offensive line play over the last decade, but none of them have been as impressive as Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz, who primarily started at center for the Wolverines, is a silky-smooth lineman who can play both center and guard at a high-level. He’s well-versed after starting 31 games for the team and appears to be the best interior offensive lineman in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Ruiz is in a mold of James Daniels and Cody Whitehair (both Chicago Bears) in that he’s best projected as a center prospect but can be flexed all throughout the interior. Ruiz looks like one of the safer picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. You’d have to be super picky to find many flaws with his game.
- Started 31 games in his career (26 at center, five at right guard)
- Good size for an interior lineman at 6’3″ 307-lbs.
- Good functional strength on tape that shows he can anchor the middle of the line; strength also showed up at the 2020 NFL Combine (28 bench reps)
- Versatility is huge; can play all three spots in the interior
- Patient in protection; doesn’t get overwhelmed; would excel in a zone-blocking scheme
- Good center of gravity; maintains balance throughout the play
- Not too much to nitpick here; physical limitations are the only thing holding him back from being an elite-level prospect
- Compact frame with shorter arms (33 1/8″); causes him to reach for blocks at times
- Not a punisher; can play too passive at times
- Doesn’t have an aggressive, tone-setting attitude; not a nasty blocker
Fit with the Ravens:
Cesar Ruiz is the type of interior offensive lineman that can be put at any of the three spots and be a day one starter. The consistency that he brings on the interior cannot be overstated here. Baltimore needs help along their interior and Ruiz is the guy to fill that need.
The Ravens have some intriguing options with guys like Patrick Mekari and Ben Powers to play at center and right guard respectively, while Bradley Bozeman will seemingly keep his spot at left guard. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for further information on Matt Skura’s recovery from a devastating knee injury last season. That’s a lot of question marks for a team that will run the ball a lot in 2020.
With this level of uncertainty, the Baltimore Ravens should consider taking Cesar Ruiz with the 28th overall pick and give them one constant on the interior. It doesn’t matter if he gets slotted to right guard, now a vacated spot following Marshal Yanda’s retirement, or center. Wherever Ruiz plays, Baltimore can rest assured that he’ll give them top-notch and consistent play.