The Miami Dolphins have tons of capital in the 2020 NFL Draft, and most of the attention is focused on what Miami will do with their three first-round picks. While having that type of draft capital is always a good thing, the true sign of a successful draft is hitting on the mid- and late-round picks. Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz won’t be going off the board in the first round, but he’d be a great Day 2 selection to help improve Miami’s blocking.
Miami Dolphins Should Draft Cesar Ruiz
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Miami Dolphins probably had the worst offensive line in all of football last year. After trading away Laremy Tunsil for a King’s ransom, Miami had absolutely nobody capable of consistently winning their blocks. If the Dolphins choose to take him, Cesar Ruiz could easily be Miami’s best offensive lineman right out of the gate.
At 6’-3” and 307 pounds, Ruiz could stand to gain about 10 or 15 more pounds. However, he’s still 20 and has plenty of time to add on some additional mass. What he (currently) lacks in size, he more than makes up for in refined technique and acceleration off the snap. The Michigan product rarely loses in pass protection and didn’t allow a single sack as a Junior. While he’s not quite as gifted in the running game, he still has the strength to move defenders and open running lanes. On top of that, Ruiz has the positional versatility to play all along the interior offensive line, although he’s best at center.
You don’t need to be athletic to be a starting-caliber center, but it sure doesn’t hurt. While Ruiz never looked like the most athletic on tape, the NFL Combine showed that he has some untapped athletic potential. According to Mockdraftable, Ruiz tested in the 84th percentile or better in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, and vertical jump. This alone doesn’t mean he’s going to be a success, but, when combined with his film, it suggests he has a strong future in the NFL.
There is a reason that Cesar Ruiz is not projected to go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. For one, his arms leave something to be desired. Arm length isn’t as important for a center as it is for a tackle, but it’s always important to make sure you engage your lineman before the lineman engages you. Short arms make that task harder, but not impossible.
Additionally, Ruiz isn’t the type of player who typically overpowers his man. While he rarely loses his blocks, he doesn’t give a defining win and move on to the next man. On top of that, he’s nothing special in the run game and is easily at his best as a pass blocker.
The good news is that most of Ruiz’ shortcomings are the type of things you can live with. Passing is far more important than running in today’s NFL, so you’d rather have a great pass blocker and an average run blocker than the other way around. Furthermore, Ruiz’ lack of dominant blocks typically won’t affect anything on a play-by-play basis. Generally speaking, it’s more important to not lose your block rather than decisively win it, and Ruiz rarely loses. The Michigan product probably won’t ever be a superstar, but he should be a solid starter at the next level, and that’s exactly what the Miami Dolphins need.
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