The New Orleans Saints made a surprising pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, taking offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz out of the University of Michigan. After the pick, Saints head coach Sean Payton confirmed the team did not spend a first round pick on Ruiz for him to sit on the bench.
This perplexed many in Who Dat Nation as the offensive line already had five starters penciled in across the line. Then, the Saints surprisingly released Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford later in the offseason, and the path to playing time for Ruiz suddenly became clear. The question just became: Where would Ruiz play on the offensive line? New Orleans already had 2019 2nd round pick Erik McCoy as the center, but both McCoy and Ruiz have the ability to play guard in Warford’s place.
In a media press conference yesterday, All-Pro tackle Ryan Ramczyk was asked if there’s a realistic possibility for Ruiz to become the starting center for the Saints by week one of the 2020 season, considering the complexities of the offensive playbook. Ramczyk’s answer? “I think it’s realistic.”
Ramczyk went on to say, “Is it difficult? Yeah. I think there’s a lot to know. There’s a lot to learn, but so far, he’s been doing great. He’s really getting his stuff down.”
Obviously Ruiz will have to earn his way into the starting center role, and how he meshes with quarterback Drew Brees during practice will make all the difference. It will be important for Sean Payton and the Saints staff to be confident in Ruiz’s ability to communicate with the rest of the offensive line, as the Saints’ season starts strong week one, hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A lack of preseason games could prove to be the reason the Saints opt to keep McCoy as the center to start the season, but Ruiz could take the job sooner rather than later.
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