Dallas Cowboys Draft: 5 Offensive Linemen for 5 Rounds

Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas cowboys (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas cowboys (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Cesar Ruiz, Interior Offensive Lineman (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

Round Grade: 2nd Round

Value: Reach

Percent Probability: 100%

Within a matter of weeks, Ruiz has made his case to be the IOL1 of this class. Consistent run blocking combined with intelligent pass protection makes him a hot commodity…. sort of. This class has been deemed a “weak class” and while the top of the class might not be as talented as in year’s past, there are many players who can become productive players within a year or so.

Ruiz is one of them.

At 6-foot-3, 304 pounds Ruiz is average-sized for an interior lineman. However, don’t think that makes him a liability against the strongest athletes in the world. Ruiz is extremely strong and his 28 bench press reps at the scouting combine justify that.

His strength and good technique make it very difficult for players to do damage against Ruiz. When he grabs his defender’s shoulder pads, they rarely come off before the whistle sounds. He can stop the biggest defenders and he can stop the fastest defenders. His strength is his greatest asset and it doesn’t go to waste.

An area where Ruiz struggles compared to other linemen is his movement. Even though Ruiz is smaller than some of his counterparts, he tested quite slow in the 3-cone drill and short shuttle. These were expected as he is slow when pulling and a bit stiff when trying to move to stop another defender.

However, these limitations don’t affect his game all that much because he is extremely intelligent. He communicates well with his line on how to deal with stunts. In general, Ruiz knew how to deal with whatever the defensive line would throw at him. The intelligence made his athletic limitations seem relatively unknown.

In some ways, it was what made Travis Frederick such a great center. Even though he tested poorly at the combine, his technique and intelligence were two parts of his game that teammates and coaches loved. That translated into a very good seven-year career.