The University of Michigan is certainly happy after last night, as it saw the New Orleans Saints draft their first player from there since Adrian Arrington was picked in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. The versatile interior lineman Cesar Ruiz was drafted with a vision from Sean Payton of not coming in to be a backup, and Wolverines offensive line coach Ed Warinner, who has been coaching offensive lines sine 1987, couldn't say enough good things about what he'll bring to the Saints.
"He tries to win every play. He's a great combination of all the attributes the you're looking for," Warinner told the media on Friday afternoon.
Warinner was quick to characterize Ruiz as very athletic with a very high football IQ and is a highly competitive person. He also realized early on that Ruiz was going to be an NFL player and would eventually be a first-round pick.
"There's really nothing he can't do that they're looking for him to do. He has good power and strength. He has really good hands. He has good vision of what's going on in front of him."
In the last two years with Michigan, Ruiz made all the run and protection calls at center. Warinner characterized him as the type of player that if you give him 50 questions for a game, he'll get 49 of them right - 99 percent accuracy. In two years of evaluating Ruiz, Warinner found only a couple of mistakes. When Ruiz was playing guard early on, Warinner said he knew based on what he saw that it became clear that he would be their center at Michigan. Warinner's track history has produced some 18 NFL prospects, with 12 of them being drafted during his tenure. His philosophy was that he believed you should put the best interior lineman at center, and that was Cesar Ruiz for the Wolverines.
In 2018, Michigan was more of a pro-style offense, and then more of a shotgun-spread offense the following year. Those types of schemes will only help Ruiz at the next level, and Warinner was quick to say that the Saints won't be in a situation where they teach him things and him not know what they mean.
Warinner added that Ruiz is just a fun guy to be around, funny, natural leadership abilities, magnetic charisma personality guy. People love him on and off the field. Good person, good family guy. His dance skills will really come in handy in New Orleans.
"He's just a good all-around person, very driven," Warinner said.
The dust has settled a little for Ruiz, but 12 hours later, things are still surreal for him.
"All that stress is gone, and it's an amazing feeling. I'm with an amazing organization," Ruiz said on Friday.
Ruiz wasn't shy in talking about his job, which is supporting and protecting Drew Brees at all costs. Ruiz revealed that he's been bombarded with a lot of messages, but something felt different when opening a text. It was from Brees, who reached out to introduce himself and welcome him to the team, and ultimately offered his support. As he declared early for the draft, he actually leaned on Erik McCoy for advice, reaching out to him on Instagram. McCoy was the only player that Ruiz didn't know already that he had reached out to, and McCoy was very open to giving him combine advice and knowing what to expect through a lengthy conversation.
Less than 24 hours after the pick was made, it looks like the New Orleans Saints have found a true gem to help anchor their offensive line.