Not everyone is happy about the New Orleans Saints picking Michigan's Cesar Ruiz, but Sean Payton and the front office is, and that's all that really matters. In fact, he was one of two of the team's starred players going into the draft hoping to be there on Thursday night.
"One of the areas we wanted to improve in this draft was interior offensive lineman. Those are hard players to find later in the draft. We had a real high grade on Cesar. He was a guy that I'd say we had a lot of information on," Sean Payton said.
Payton wasn't shy about the vision for Ruiz, saying that the Saints didn't draft him to be a backup. He specifically mentioned that Larry Warford was a player that was going to have to compete, and that this methodology is how you have to improve the team. Payton added that no matter what type of tape they looked at on Ruiz, it all looked the same, and in a really good way.
Given how things unfolded with the COVID-19 threat, Payton explained the importance of drafting players with a high FBI, or football intelligence, and that Ruiz was one of those 'A-learn' players. It was very important to Payton because of the team not having a spring offseason program.
The Saints were looking at potentially trading down, but also had their eyes on South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw (49ers at 14th) and Clemson's A.J. Terrell (Falcons at 16th).
So, what's next for the Saints on Day 2 of the draft? Payton was quick to call out linebacker, what's left of them, will go pretty quickly. There's also a potential for the team to trade back into the second round. They'll look to move if the player is there, and that there's some players on their board they'd love to have on Day 2, but will have to be patient.
"We know we've got a need position at linebacker. We've got to fill that some way, shape or form. Now that may not be through the draft, but it would be nice if we could fill it through the draft."
Currently, the Saints are not set to pick until the 3rd Round at 88th overall.