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23 Days of Draftmas: Michigan center Cesar Ruiz

23 Days of Draftmas concludes with the best interior offensive lineman in the draft.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A very merry Draftmas to you!

The NFL Draft is HERE! As we’ve done every day in April, here’s get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are projected to be on the clock at pick 32 on Thursday night — and all of us at the AP Draft Team are excited to see what the team will do. Despite the report that the Chiefs have restructured Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s contract, the team could still upgrade in the interior of their offensive line. If that’s the case, why not take the best one in the class?

Cesar Ruiz, center

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

6’2” | 307 lbs | Michigan

Camden, NJ

Expected draft range: Round one

Combine: 5.08 40-yard dash, 33” vertical jump, 113” broad jump, 28 bench press, 7.91 3-cone drill

One-sentence bio: After starting his career at right guard, two-year starter at center and second-team All-Big Ten in 2019.

One-sentence scouting report: Excellent anchor, movement, and balance — with the speed to easily get in front of the play and the strength to finish his blocks

One play:

How he fits in Kansas City: As an interior offensive lineman, Ruiz is as steady as they come. He handles both power rushers and speed rushers well, allowing the quarterback time and space to maneuver in the pocket. His anchor also shows up well in the running game, playing with plenty of strength to blow open holes in the interior.

However, Ruiz really shines when he’s asked to move. His agile footwork and excellent speed allow for quick pulls that other interior lineman can’t execute. He climbs effortlessly to the second level and eliminates linebackers after his combo blocks. He routinely has the block that springs the big gain.

He’s not just an athlete at the position, either. Ruiz is an incredibly smart player who sets protections well, quickly identifying stunts to pick up the free rusher. He works well with his quarterback to limit pressure; he would almost immediately become one of Patrick Mahomes’ favorite linemen.

Ruiz is projected to go in the back half of the first round; he may not fall all the way to Kansas City at pick 32. But if there are runs on wide receivers, offensive tackles or even cornerbacks through the back half of the round, the Chiefs could find Ruiz in their lap.

KC Draft Guide

Ready for the draft? We’ll cover it here on Arrowhead Pride, but if you want MORE in-depth analysis on the draft, there’s still time to get in a crash-course at from our KC Draft Guide. It has 225+ player profiles, special features, Chiefs fits for each position, and quotes directly from the players on how they would feel to end up in Kansas City!

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