5 NFL Draft sleeper prospects who should be first-round picks

Kristian Fulton #1 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Kristian Fulton #1 of the LSU Tigers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Cesar Ruiz, NFL Draft
COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 24: Cesar Ruiz #51 of the Michigan Wolverines blocks against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Michigan 62-39. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

4. Cesar Ruiz

There’s some buzz that Ruiz could slip into the end of Round 1, but the majority of mocks have him going in Round 2 instead. That’s not good enough for a player who can step in and become a quality starter at either center or guard.

Interior lineman aren’t valued as highly as their peers at tackle, but keeping a clean pocket for the quarterback starts inside. Ruiz isn’t the finished product as a pass blocker, but he’s got the size and quickness required to handle both bull rushers and finesse guys on the inside.

His run-blocking skills are where he can make an immediate positive impact at the next level. He projects as a guard who can get out to the second level and make key blocks for his running backs. A run heavy team like the Titans or Ravens could really put those skills to good use.

Drafting a guard in Round 1 isn’t going to win a press conference for a GM, but it could help them win valuable games next season. If Ruiz does slip into the second round you could see a bidding war develop for his services. He can fill a big need for quite a few teams.