New Orleans Saints draft Michigan C Cesar Ruiz

Cesar Ruiz
Posted at 11:15 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 06:40:37-04

(AP) — The New Orleans Saints selected Michigan center Cesar Ruiz with the 24th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

Reminder: You can watch the NFL Draft on Channel 7

The 6-foot-3, 307-pound Ruiz joins an offensive line that has all five starters returning, including center Erik McCoy, who was New Orleans’ top draft pick a year ago in the second round.

The Saints, however, value linemen who have versatility and Ruiz could provide important depth, if not compete for a starting role, at any of the interior line positions.

The pick also strengthens the unit responsible for protecting record-setting 41-year-old quarterback Drew Brees.

The Saints have most core players back from the past three seasons, all of which included NFC South Division crowns — and 13-3 records each of the past two regular seasons.

With no glaring holes no the roster, the Saints had flexibility in choosing the player they liked best, regardless of position.

However, it appeared that a top linebacker or receiver could help the most.

Instead, they went with Ruiz, who joins an offense that ranked ninth in the NFL last season, averaging 373.9 yards per game, including 265.3 yards through the air and 108.6 yards on the ground.