Falcons Draft Profile: Cesar Ruiz

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The Falcons are looking for answers at left guard, and Cesar Ruiz of Michigan could be just the man they need.

Ruiz was a top 100 prospect coming out of IMG Academy, and while he had to sit behind center Mason Cole back in 2017, he was able to make five starts at right guard as a true freshman. It was his time to shine in 2018 when he took the reins as starting center, and he never looked back. Ruiz went on to become a two-time All-Big Ten selection, and though he was initially graded as a day-three prospect by some, he has seen a rise in his draft stock. Ruiz is now expected to be one of the highest selected centers and could even be a first-round pick.

The Michigan product does his best work in pass protection. In fact, he was rated the best pass-blocking center in college football by Pro Football Focus in 2019, as he allowed just eight pressures all season, with none allowed in the final five games. For a pass-happy offense such as Atlanta, that in itself should be a selling point. He is still a work in progress as a run blocker, but projects as a reliable starter in the NFL nonetheless. He moves well for 6’3″, 307 pounds, as he ran a respectable 5.08 40-yard dash, and it shows out in open space. Ruiz has a great blend of balance, power, and athleticism that should play in any scheme at the next level. The only concern may be his length.

What may be most impressive about Ruiz is his projectability. He was one of the most dominant centers in college football and could be the first one selected, but he still is not even of legal age to drink alcohol. Being able to draft a prospect that is so young but talented is always a plus. Despite his age, he should still be ready to start right away at the left guard spot and become Alex Mack’s replacement at center down the road. If he is still on the board in the second round, there are few more promising prospects.

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